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and n

q&A: nick lowles

of hope not hate
Achieving diversity
in the media
Race equality and
the election Intelligence for
a multi-ethnic Britain

Dr Rob Berkeley
Sarah Isal
Deputy Director
Dr Debbie Weekes-
Senior Research &
Policy Analyst
Dr Omar Khan
Senior Research &
Policy Analyst
Jessica Mai Sims
Research & Policy
Analyst WELCOME to the Summer 2010 edition of the online Runnymede Bulletin.
Kjartan Páll Sveinsson As our young coalition government finds its feet, this quarter’s magazine
Research & Policy
takes the timely theme of participation and representation.
Phil Mawhinney Our main interview (from page 28) is, fittingly, with Nick Lowles - head of the
Research & Policy Hope not Hate campaign, which we all have to thank for keeping the British
National Party out of London’s councils.
Vastiana Belfon
Real Histories Directory Meanwhile, from page 6 our public affairs officer Vicki Butler condenses
Robin Frampton months of campaigning and complex policy ideas into a handy two-page
Publications Editor guide on all things race equality related.
Nina Kelly
Editor, Runnymede
Why do local politicians across the party lines think that greater black and
Online minority ethnic representation matters? Find out on page 27.
Colin Kelly Away from politics, turn to page 14 for a comment from the BBC’s head
Business Development of diversity on how we might encourage more and better ethnic minority
representation in broadcasting.
Vicki Butler
Public Affairs Officer And away from representation, on page 16 Rosalind Edwards and Chamion
Klara Schmitz Caballero bring together some of the findings of a fascinating research
Project Assistant report looking at single mums bringing up mixed-race children.
Kam Gill
Project Assistant
Guardian readers among you may also have heard mention about an
article on academy schools, exclusions and race equality. Read it in full
Riffat Ahmed
Art Project Manager from page 12.
Rebecca Waller That is far from all, so I’ll leave you to leaf through in your own time and
Administrator explore the rest.
7 Plough Yard
London EC2A 3LP As ever, a massive thank you to all the fabulous people who lent us their
T: 020 7377 9222 thoughts, expertise, words and images to produce this very swiftly pulled
F: 020 7377 6622 together Summer edition. We know your time is precious, and we appreciate
every second of it.
ISSN: 1476-363X
The Runnymede Trust, If you have any feedback or suggestions for what you would like to see in
July 2010. Open access,
some rights reserved, forthcoming bulletins, please get in touch with me at the email address below.
subject to the terms
of Creative Commons
Licence Deed: Attribution-
Derivative Works 2.0 UK:
England & Wales. You are
free to copy, distribute,
display and perform
the work (including
translation) without written
permission; you must
give the original author
credit; you may not use
this work for commercial
purposes; you may not
alter, transform, or build
upon this work. For more
information please go to
org. For purposes other
than those covered by this
licence, please contact Nina Kelly, Editor
Runnymede is the UK’s
leading race equality
thinktank. We are a
research-led, non-party
political charity working
to end racism.

Front cover image by Georgie Gallop at the Million Women Rise March 2010

2 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


06 On the cover
28 Q&A
08 financial inclusion
Hope not Hate’s Nick Lowles on policy & the coalition
how the campaign is successfully How might our young coalition
tackling the threat of the BNP government affect race equality
in financial inclusion?
06 race equality & the 2010
general election 10 combatting the bnp
A look at the election campaigns Fresh tactics needed in
and results from a race equality campaign against far right
12 Academies & exclusions
14 Achieving diversity in the As the debate about academy
media industry schools rages, we take a look at

16 The BBC’s head of diversity on

how more diverse faces behind
the scenes could change output
their worrying exclusion rates

16 lone mothers of miixed

racial and ethnic children
REgulars Read about the experiences and
racisms faced by lone mums with
04 news in brief mixed-race children
A round up of some of the most
important race-related news 18 migration and risk
The need for a new discourse on
26 key facts risk analysis and migration policy
Ten facts you ought to know
about race and representation 20 is proportional
representation better?
27 vox pop A look at alternative voting
Local councillors on why systems and how, if at all, they
representation of black and could impact black and minority
minority ethnic groups matters ethnic representation

32 reviews 23 racist violence

New books and films Best practice in prevention and
why it is so important
35 director’s column
Rob Berkeley on why we need to 31 A reader on race
remember the longer term costs The new edition of one of the
of spending cuts most widely read texts in the race
academic sector outlined by one
14 A view from... of its authors

24 ...Wales comment
How does ‘black Welsh’ fit in with
‘black British’? Or doesn’t it? 21 A long way to go
New Lib Dem councillor Lester
25 ...poland Holloway on what’s holding
The Polish political climate has black and minority ethnic
changed since the death of a representation in politics back
retinue of its top politicians summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 3

news in brief by Elisabeth Fischer

Information centre about asylum

and refugees saved from closure
INDIVIDUAL SUPPORTERS AND and contributions from ICAR’s existing “We are delighted that the public has
funders have donated £25,000 over six funders, the centre will now be able recognised the importance of the centre
weeks to save the Information Centre to function as normal, based at the and given it a lifeline.”
about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR) from Runnymede offices in central London. ICAR director Neil Amas said: “This
definite closure. Journalist Melanie McFadyean, move has not only saved ICAR from
More than £3,000 came via cheques who regularly writes for the Guardian, closure, but also promises to be an exciting
and online donations given by concerned personally donated £100 to the campaign. new partnership bringing together two
members of the public and small She said: “We are ignorant about what is complementary areas of work.
organisations. happening to asylum seekers in the UK and “We believe that over the coming years
ICAR, previously based at London will be even more so if such an important asylum policy will remain in the spotlight
City University, was to become a casualty outfit as ICAR were to be disbanded.” and continue to impact on refugee, migrant
of higher education sector cuts when the Dr Rayah Feldman of London South and established UK populations. ICAR’s
university announced its inability to house Bank University said: “ICAR is highly contribution to promoting well-informed
the centre in April 2010. Without this base, respected among academics and others debate in this crucial area will therefore be
ICAR was certain to close by the end of concerned with obtaining accurate needed as much as ever.
June 2010. information about immigration in the UK. “We feel greatly indebted to the public,
More than 85 students wrote in protest I know of no other resource in the UK that without whose generosity we would not be
at the threatened closure. examines such a broad range of issues on able to continue to do this vital work.”
The centre, which provides an asylum in such a trustworthy way.” Under the new arrangement ICAR will
invaluable source of unbiased information Dr Nissa Finney of the University of continue to operate as an independent
about asylum and refugees, managed to Manchester said: “ICAR provides an centre, while benefiting from and
find a new home at the eleventh hour invaluable source of impartial information. contributing to the running costs and
courtesy of race equality thinktank the No other such organisation exists in management support of Runnymede.
Runnymede Trust. Britain.”
However, once Runnymede had Runnymede director Rob Berkeley Please note: We are still fundraising to help
stepped forward in May 2010, the two said: “It is a privilege for us to have a keep ICAR going for as long as possible
organisations then had just six weeks to hand in saving such a well-informed and cushion both our organisations against
raise £25,000 to cover the costs of the resource. ICAR is the first port of call further cuts. If you are able to, please donate
move, without which ICAR would have for many policymakers and voluntary at online by visiting For
had to close permanently. service providers, as well as community further information, go to or
Thanks to the generosity of individuals organisations supporting some of the most contact Jacob Lagnado on 020 7040 4596
who donated via a dedicated web page vulnerable people in our society. or at

World cup quarter finalists unite against racism

THE EIGHT TEAMS IN THE QUARTER corners of the globe. saying: “Sport can create hope, where
finals of the World Cup 2010 pledged to The Fédération Internationale once there was only despair.” He added
fight racism and discrimination in all de Football Association (FIFA)’s that hosting the World Cup 2010 had
forms. president, Joseph Blatter, pointed out brought South Africans together.
Before the start of the quarter final that the players involved in the quarter Racial prejudice, of course, has a
matches in July 2010 the captains of the finals - and indeed the world cup - are particularly prominent place in the
competing teams read out a declaration seen as role models across the world. modern history of the host nation,
rejecting any form of discrimination on He said in an official statement: “It is which lived for decades under the racist
and off the field. part of our social responsibility to use Apartheid regime.
Teams and match officials posed our competitions to raise awareness of FIFA signed a declaration against
alongside a banner, showing the words the pressing social issues of the day.” racism in 2001 in Buenos Aires. Since
‘Say no to racism.’ The matches were Former South African president then, the organisation has arranged
watched by millions of people from all Nelson Mandela supported the message, ‘Anti-Discrimination Days’ every year.

4 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

Brazil race equality
law not enough
Brazilian pressure groups are disappointed
that affirmative action is missing from the
country’s new equality law, which was
approved by the Brazilian Congress in June
2010 after seven years of discussion.
The Statute of Racial Equality aims to
end the inequality suffered by black people
in Brazil. Different black ethnic groups
make up 48 per cent of today’s Brazilian
population, according to the Minority
Rights Group International.
However, as the various news agencies
have reported, black pressure groups are
frustrated that the statute does not endorse
any of the positive action policies that
Black and minority ethnic have been launched during the debate in
people are far more likely to parliament. Critics argue that moves to
be stopped and searched
than white people
make it easier for Brazil’s black population
to enter higher education, find jobs in both
public and private sectors and enter politics
Fears of greater inequality as stop are missing from the law.
Coordinator of the National Council of
and search form is to be scrapped Black Entities Gilberto Leal said: “The text
falls short of our expectations. Concrete
home secretary theresa MAY 178,000 between 2004 and 2005. The action is needed to combat the injustice our
has vowed to scrap the forms used by the report also revealed that this overuse has community suffers.”
police while stop and search. Critics say created significant distrust among the Some measures that were originally
this could result in racial discrimination. affected communities. covered by the statute, and many black
The newly appointed government Police minister Nick Herbert has campaigners would have welcomed, were
minister used her maiden speech in condemned these figures, and the eliminated during the legislative process.
May 2010 to announce that she would targeting of individuals on the basis of This includes tax breaks for employers with
scrap the stop and search form to reduce race alone. He told the Guardian: “Stop a black workforce of more than 20 per cent
bureaucracy, the burden of the procedure and search is an important tool for the and the introduction of a black quota system
and to cut costs. However, critics police, but it is essential powers are for political parties.
suggest that this would make it difficult used fairly and with the support of the The author of the original text of the
to monitor the disproportionate numbers community to protect the public.” statute is Brazil’s only black senator Paulo
of ethnic minority people being stopped. However, the numbers could rise Paim. He said: “The statute is a real step
Black people are seven times more even further without anyone knowing forward and an effective weapon, even if it
likely to be stopped and searched by the about it if the abolishment of stop and does not come up to our ideals.”
police than white people, according to search forms goes ahead. Whereas, up Many black people in Brazil are
Ministry of Justice figures, with Asian to now, the police have to record of the descendents of Africans who arrived
people are twice as likely to be stopped. ethnic background of a person they stop in the country during the 16th century,
In total the number of black and Asian and search, they may not have to do this having been enslaved by white colonisers.
people stopped and searched by the in the future. Although they make up roughly half the
police has increased by more than 70 per Runnymede’s Kjartan Sveinsson population, 122 years after the abolition of
cent over the past five years. criticised the proposal in an article slavery the economic participation of black
The figures in the annual statistics on for the Guardian, arguing that people in Brazil is only 20 per cent of the
race and the criminal justice system show accountability and transparency would county’s gross domestic product (GDP).
that more than 310,000 members of these not be possible without monitoring. He Unemployment is 50 per cent higher
ethnic minority groups were stopped and said: “Uncontrolled and unmonitored among black Brazilians. Only 4 per cent of
searched by the police on the streets stop and search can lead to stereotyping black Brazilians aged between 18 and 24 have
between 2008 and 2009, compared with and discrimination.” attended a university, compared to 12 per cent
among white people of the same age, according
to the Minority Rights Group International. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 5

Race equality and the
2010 general election
Vicki Butler and Farrah Sheikh take a look back at the election and
assess what the changes may mean, in terms of black and minority
ethnic representation and for race equality more broadly

he last few months have seen a after the election, Clegg was forced to Party’s first Asian and Black female MPs
variety of changes within the UK retreat on his manifesto commitments on respectively, as well as the UK’s first
political scene. We have had immigration. Instead he has supported Kurdish politician Nadhim Zahawi.
one of the most exciting election the Conservative’s plans for a cap on
campaigns, resulting in the UK’s first non-EU migration. Labour newcomer Chuka Umunna
hung parliament since the 1970s. In this took the seat of Streatham with a 3529
article we examine the events of the last Though race equality was not given majority, while Rushanara Ali achieved
few months and their potential impact on the same attention as immigration in one of Labour’s only gains in the election
race equality. the election campaign, a number of by winning the seat of Bethnal Green and
campaigning groups worked hard to Bow from Respect with an 11,574 majority.
keep it on the electoral agenda.
The election campaign Other new BME MPs included
Organisations including Operation Conservatives Rehman Chishti, Sam
The 2010 election campaign was a
Black Vote (OBV), Equanomics and the Gyimah, Sajid Javid, Kwasi Kwarteng,
historic one for a number of reasons
1990 Trust were particularly active in the Alok Sharma and Paul Uppal. New
– not least because it saw the first
campaign. The groups collaborated to BME Labour MPs included Shabana
televised prime ministerial debates in
produce the Black Manifesto, a document Mahmood, Lisa Nandy, Chi Onwurah,
the UK. While in retrospect the debates
designed to keep race equality issues Yasmin Qureshi, Anas Sarwar and Valerie
appeared to have little impact on the final
high on the political agenda. Vaz, Keith Vaz’s sister.
election result, one of the most striking
aspects was that the public for the first
OBV also hosted the popular Black Britain Veteran BME MPs David Lammy, Diane
time saw Liberal Democrat leader Nick
Decides rally which featured senior Abbott and Adam Afriyie were also
Clegg placed head to head with Brown
parliamentarians Harriet Harman, Vince returned to Westminster with increased
and Cameron – and, for a short while at
Cable and George Osborne. Throughout majorities. In one of the biggest surprises
least, they liked what they saw.
the election campaign, OBV argued that of the night, former transport minister
the black vote could significantly impact and Labour MP Sadiq Khan successfully
While Clegg’s rise to prominence did not
the outcome of the general election, defended his Tooting seat from strong
translate into votes on polling day, it did
highlighting the fact that marginal seats Tory opposition.
draw attention to the Liberal Democrat
could easily be swung by black and
policies on immigration – which had
minority ethnic (BME) votes, in particular However, the evening also saw a number
been seen by many migration rights
highlighting Finchley & Golders Green, of prominent BME parliamentarians lose
groups as being the most progressive of
Battersea, and Crawley. their seats. In one of the tightest battles
the three parties’ policies on the issue.
The Lib Dem’s manifesto for example
called for ‘a route to citizenship’ for non-
documented migrants who had proof The final election result saw a
historic number of ethnic minority
of their residence in the UK for at least
ten years. Meanwhile Labour argued in
favour of their points based system, and
the Conservatives argued for a cap on
numbers of migrants.
MPs elected to parliament
However, Clegg’s policies came under The result
fire in the press as well as the leadership of the election, Labour’s Dawn Butler
debates, with both Brown and Cameron The final election result saw a historic was defeated by Liberal Democrat Sarah
labelling the Lib Dem’s policies as weak. number of ethnic minority MPs elected to Teather, who has since been appointed
Perhaps because of this criticism, if parliament, with the number rising from as an education minister. The pair were
not because of the realities of coalition 14 to 27. Notable winners include Priti previously MPs in neighbouring seats,
politics, when entering government Patel and Helen Grant, the Conservative but boundary changes put the two head-

6 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


Unsuccessful Conservative
Party candidate Wilfred

Photo: Nina Kelly

to-head in the new seat of Brent Central. make it to Westminster. The BNP were Impact on equalities?
Other unlucky former MPs included in fact unceremoniously ejected from
Labour’s Parmjit Dhanda and Shahid Barking & Dagenham Council, as all 12 Despite the coalition partners appointing
Malik who were defeated in Gloucester of their councillors lost their seats. The a cabinet of diverse political views,
and Dewsbury respectively. openly racist party’s campaign cannot there is little diversity of ethnicity,
have been helped by former party group gender or economic background in the
Several high-profile BME parliamentary leader, Bob Bailey, who was filmed fighting government. Though Baroness Warsi,
candidates were also unlucky on election in the street in the run up to the election. now chair of the Conservative Party,
night. The self-styled ’black farmer’ made history by becoming the first
and Conservative candidate Wilfred Overall the BNP suffered catastrophic Muslim to be appointed to the cabinet,
Emmanuel-Jones unexpectedly failed losses. Prominent BNP councillor, Chris she is one of only two politicians from an
to take the seat of Chippenham from Beverley lost his seat on Leeds City ethnic minority background in the entire
the Liberal Democrats. Another shock Council. The party also lost councillors in coalition government, with Shailesh
result was the failure of Shaun Bailey Stoke-on-Trent, an area once described Vara MP appointed as an assistant
to win the seat of Hammersmith for the by Griffin as the party’s ‘jewel in the crown’. government whip.
Conservatives from the Labour Party.
Bailey was one of the most well-known
Conservative hopefuls, dubbed by some
The aftermath Fresh from the wounds of electoral
as being one of the ‘Tatler Tories’ after defeat, the Labour leadership battle,
The battle did not end on election night, for a while at least, looked as if it would
posing for the high-society magazine. The
as there was no party that achieved an be no more diverse, with an entirely
total number of BME Labour MPs is now
overall majority on 7 May 2010. Instead, white, male and Oxbridge-educated
13, up ten from 2005. Most strikingly, the
after five days of discussions between list of candidates. However, after calls
number of ethnic minority Conservative
the Conservative Party and the Liberal from many for a more diverse group
MPs has leapt from two to 11. However,
Democrats, the unlikeliest of couples of candidates for the position, long-
the Liberal Democrats still have no ethnic
formed a historic coalition agreement term race equality campaigner and MP
minority MPs in Westminster, having had
– the first between the two since 1974. Diane Abbott announced her candidacy.
only one BME MP in their history.
Following a dramatic battle to receive the
New prime minister David Cameron 33 parliamentary nominations required to
Local election results and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg formally stand, Abbott finally made it onto
have hailed the union as the beginning the ballot paper on 9 June 2010, making
Despite claiming that he would create of a new kind of politics in Westminster, her the first black candidate ever to stand
a ‘political earthquake’, British National and as an agreement greatly needed for the position of leader in the UK’s three
Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin failed to due to the current economic backdrop. major political parties. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 7

Financial inclusion
Phil Mawhinney explores the UK’s new financial policy landscape

unnymede’s financial inclusion team sessions, in encouraging marginalised people particularly common among Pakistani and
has been rifling through the new to take up the service. Bangladeshi people. This is partly due to a
government’s coalition agreement cultural appreciation of running a business, but
and listening to the Queen’s speech, Time will tell whether the new government is also a response to the limited opportunities
hungry to know which direction things are really values financial inclusion initiatives and discrimination that BME people face.
moving in. We have been thinking keenly about such as Money Guidance, but we are pleased
how the financial inclusion policy landscape at plans to continue to support this particular
will change under a new government that has scheme. Now operating under the recently-
a clear priority to reduce the public deficit created Consumer Financial Education Body,
at a fast rate, and largely by cutting public we are optimistic that Money Guidance will Concerns highlighted by the report include
spending. Which policies will be scrapped, provide financial support to many BME the worry that BME people who are self-
kept or introduced? It is an important time to people in different communities. However, employed will continue to be at risk of
pause, take stock and anticipate what this new receiving advice can only improve people’s pensioner poverty through not being
situation means for race equality. financial situation so far – tackling upstream able to contribute to and receive the S2P.
issues such as a lack of opportunities in the Furthermore, self-employed people will
Our work in the forthcoming couple of labour market and low levels of education are not be auto-enrolled into NEST, they must
years will focus on barriers to money advice central to improving people’s lives. voluntarily opt in. However, even those that
services, pension inequalities and obstacles do so will not benefit from the employer
to saving. We have also been looking at contribution, providing them with fewer
financial inclusion issues among older black
Pensions policy pension savings overall.
and minority ethnic (BME) people. This
Changes in pensions policy are significant Another worry is the plan to increase the State
involves finding out how the disadvantage
given the marked ethnic inequalities in Pension Age to 66 (and eventually 68) at an
and exclusion that older people experience
pensioner poverty. The risk of pensioner even faster rate than planned by the previous
affects their freedom to choose where to retire
poverty among Bangladeshi and Pakistani government, as set out in the Pensions and
to (in the UK or abroad), to live in a decent
people is 49 per cent, compared to 17 per cent Savings Bill. This may particularly affect
home, to contribute to family life and to
for white people. BME people are also less BME people, who often experience high
access appropriate health and other services.
likely than others to have a private pension levels of ill health. Statistics from the 2001
or to receive the State Second Pension (S2P). Census show that Pakistani and Bangladeshi
Progress in money advice people are much more likely than white
To reduce the large number of people British people to suffer a long-term illness
Giving people access to affordable and not saving for retirement, the previous or disability that restricts daily activities.
quality money advice has been a central government developed a policy to ensure Raising the pension age may mean that many
aspect of financial inclusion policy for years. that employers would automatically enrol BME people suffering ill health are forced to
Indeed, March of this year saw the then- their employees into a workplace pension work later into life.
chancellor Alistair Darling MP officially scheme from 2012, giving them the choice of
launch the Money Guidance service, which to opting out. The new government appears
gives free and impartial guidance on a range willing to support auto-enrolment, although it
Work and welfare
of financial matters, from budgeting to is unclear whether it will continue to develop
borrowing to planning for retirement. This NEST, which is a simple pension scheme into Disadvantage in the world of work and
coincided with the publishing of our report which employees, employers and government the resulting low income is at the root of
Seeking Sound Advice: Financial Inclusion would make contributions. much financial exclusion that BME people
and Ethnicity (, which experience, such as low levels of savings,
describes Bangladeshi, black Caribbean and We have welcomed these developments, reliance on expensive credit, high levels of
Chinese people’s financial troubles, their recognising that auto-enrolment would help debt. Unemployment is high among BME
desire for money advice and their experiences overcome the inertia that partly explains why communities, particularly among black
of exclusion from existing sources of advice, half of those aged 25 and 34 are not saving and Bangladeshi people. Recent research
such as banks and independent financial for retirement. However, there is a real danger carried out for the Department for Work and
advisers. We then presented to the Financial that advances in policy will do little to enable Pensions (DWP) involved applying for jobs
Services Authority (FSA) the report’s many BME people to save enough to enjoy using application forms containing identical
recommendations on how Money Guidance a comfortable and stable retirement. A report qualifications, but with a variety of names
could include and meet the needs of BME that is with the printers now looks at the associated with different ethnic groups. The
people. These include the important role of barriers to pensions faced by self-employed results showed that job discrimination on the
BME money advisers and face-to-face advice BME people - owning small businesses is basis of ethnicity still exists.

8 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


after the election

credit to make up for shortfalls in their income.
Figure 1. Access to pensions by ethnicity
(% of all employees and self-employed) We were disappointed to hear that Child Trust
Funds (CTFs) will be scrapped. CTFs are tax-
Whole population free investment funds for children, made up of
75 contributions from the government and family
Ethnic minorities members. The children who benefit from the
70 scheme get access to the fund when they
53 reach 18, with the option of putting it towards
further education fees or a housing deposit.
39 CTFs are seen as an aid to social mobility,
particularly helping people in low-income
families to invest in their future, as well as
30 to develop good saving habits. It is therefore
20 a blow to the financial well-being and social
mobility of many disadvantaged and BME
10 people that this policy will come to an end.
Proportion accruing Proportion building up Surveying the landscape
private pension entitlement to S2P
Source: Pensions Policy Institute, 2008
Stepping back from the detail of individual
The coalition government has said it will effects on people living in poverty, including policies, we can see that the way the whole
promote equal pay and introduce measures many BME people. policy landscape is shifting raises big
to end discrimination in the workplace. One concerns over financial exclusion and its
planned measure is to provide internships at underlying causes. The new government
Whitehall departments for people from under-
Other financial inclusion is focusing squarely on cutting the public
represented ethnic groups. We welcome policies deficit through fast and deep cuts to public
such measures, but it remains to be seen spending. Some observers are sceptical about
whether new policies will have enough bite Welcome news includes the government’s the likelihood that the pain will be shared
to deliver real change. One way to combat plans to give Post Office Card account holders across society, despite David Cameron’s
racial discrimination could be to require job the ability to set up direct debits and enjoy the pledge to protect the poorest among us. As
applications to be name-blind. To make a discounts they bring. In the area of credit, the the ‘Big Society’ is promoted, the state is
real impact such a policy would have to be government intends to ban excessive interest likely to shrink. This may mean a reduction in
applied to the private as well as public sector, rates on credit and store cards, to introduce financial support, whether direct to people’s
requiring strong political will. a seven-day cooling off period for store pockets, or indirectly via schools and other
cards and to oblige credit card companies to public services. It may also mean that we have
Less positively, the government has provide better information to allow customers a government with less hunger, willpower and
scrapped the Future Jobs Fund, which

Business ownership is common

guaranteed work or training to 18-24 year
olds out of work for six months. This
will have a big impact on BME people
trying to get into work, with almost half
of black people aged between 16 and 24
among Pakistani and Bangladeshi
people, partly due to discrimination
unemployed, compared to 20 per cent of
white people of the same age.

Welfare reform has been a hot topic since the

election. Sweeping changes are expected, with
in other employment
a renewed drive to ‘get people off benefits’,
coupled with the likelihood of significant to compare prices. These measures may help strength to intervene in the market to reduce
cuts to welfare spending. It will be important protect consumers from entering into spirals inequality and to support those who start life
to monitor policy changes, including the of debt. However, they will not address at the bottom of the pile. Such a government
progression of the Welfare Reform Bill, in the underlying reality that many people is unlikely to be one that tackles racial
order to anticipate any potentially harmful experiencing poverty and disadvantage take on inequalities head on. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 9

Fresh tactics needed in
campaign against far right
Kamaljeet Gill argues for a more government was reluctant to act against these groups, a
collection of ex-servicemen – by no means all of whom were
sophisticated discourse to tackle Jewish – were intent on preventing the spread of these ideas
by whatever means available. To that end they founded ‘The 43
the far right as it gains legitimacy Group’. The group’s preferred tactic was to rush fascist street
meetings and wherever possible overturn the speaker’s tables,
causing fights to break out and the meetings to be broken up
The recent general election offered, for the first time, the by the police. Constant pressure from the 43 Group and others
unpalatable prospect of the British National Party (BNP) eventually caused the post-war fascist revival to grind to a halt.
gaining a foothold in parliament. BNP leader Nick Griffin
challenged Barking’s Labour MP Margaret Hodge and, if In the context of the current wave of far-right activity, this tactic
successful, would have crowned a streak of victories that holds an appeal for many anti-fascists who grew up hearing
has seen the party win seats in the London Assembly and tales about the glorious Battle of Cable Street, which apparently
the European Parliament. halted a fascist march through London’s East End. As such, it
seems profitable to consider just what relevance, and therefore
Griffin was defeated into third place, but the fact of his challenge utility, such tactics would have in the current climate.
has caused many observers to become concerned by the
renaissance of the far right in recent years. Past efforts to counter Groups like Unite Against Fascism (UAF) do not openly
the party’s rise have tended to focus on the disruption of party advocate violence, but their strategy still centres on interrupting
events and gatherings and an insistence on not allowing the BNP or preventing BNP campaigns wherever possible. Surely
to share a platform with mainstream parties. Rhetorically, such the 43 Group provides a clear and encouraging model for
anti-BNP attacks have relied on more or less open accusations resisting the far right in our own time? Well, I’d argue probably
of Nazism. While this comparison has emotive power, it is not not, and for several reasons. The first is the particular political
necessarily the most effective tactic and, as the party’s growth in situation in which the group operated. Short of inciting active
popularity implies, new methods are required. A more effective public disorder, the Union movement was legally free to make
strategy may be to focus debate on subjects with which serious extremely offensive and threatening comments about ‘Jews’
parties must engage, such as taxation, in order to highlight the and ‘Aliens’, or even about the Holocaust. Making these claims
lack of intellectual rigour that the BNP would bring to these key today would render them liable for prosecution.
issues. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies
it will be useful to compare resistance to the BNP with the More important is the level of legitimacy under which the different
resistance to an equivalent extremist movement: the post-war parties operated in the past. Even in their pre-war height, fascist
Union Movement led by Oswald Mosley, the founder of the movements in Britain had not gained anything like mainstream
British Union of Fascists (BUF). political status. Arguments can be made as to why, but the fact
remains that even compared to their opponents on the left, the
At the end of the Second World War, thousands of British citizens BUF remained a threatening fringe rather than a serious electoral
were released from internment for fascist sympathies under the prospect. Smaller groups like Arthur Leese’s Imperial Fascist
18b legislation. This followed the release of Oswald Mosley in League remained minuscule, even by the BUF’s standards. Of
1943. A significant number of these internees retained their old course, the BNP remains a minority concern as well. However,
political sympathies and it was not long before a variety of smaller like it or not, the party has won seats in local elections and
movements sprung up that advocated much of the old fascist on the international stage, and has even challenged a long-
programme. This time, however, they had learned the lessons of standing representative of the incumbent party for a seat in
the pre-war period and of internment. As far as possible the term parliament. Even a failed electoral attempt at a parliamentary
‘fascist’ was eschewed in favour of ‘patriot’ or ‘union’. The most seat represents significant progress for the party in terms of
prominent of these groups, and the one which would later subsume being taken seriously on the national stage. This represents
most of the others, was Sir Oswald Mosley’s Union movement. a level of integration into the political mainstream that Mosley
There are considerable similarities between the Union movement could only dream of. This difference is significant because a
and modern far right parties such as the BNP. Perhaps the most lack of legitimacy made the Union movement and its outliers
prescient for this discussion is that both engaged in extensive particularly susceptible to the disruptive tactics of the 43 Group.
efforts to re-brand themselves, yet were and are persistently Every disturbance at a Union rally and every fight that had to
labelled as ‘disguised’ (often barely disguised) fascists. be broken up by police reinforced the idea that this was not a
valid or credible political party and never could be. Crucially,
Large swathes of the population felt deeply aggrieved that it cemented this impression among the respectable middle
people should be free to preach the sort of hatred they believed class, which had not been exposed to fascist aggression before
the country had gone to war to combat. While the Labour the war and was susceptible to propaganda if the distributors

10 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


Photo: Kerry Buckley

seemed trustworthy or respectable. The constant association There are a great many moral objections to racism and
of the Union movement with violence was fatal to this dynamic. fascism, however, one very good practical objection is that
Similarly disruptive tactics deployed against the BNP simply do they do not work. The NHS would not last a day without the
not have the same effect. Rather they serve to confirm the party’s kind of large-scale immigration the BNP opposes. Even the
narrative of a patriotic underdog being suppressed by whatever fact that racial violence almost always increases in the wake
means. By simply declaring ‘The BNP is a Nazi party; smash the of a BNP local victory has not proved as damning for the
BNP’, movements such as UAF simply reinforce the idea that the party as it should because potential supporters are so cynical
BNP’s assailants will say anything to discredit them. Meanwhile, about the opposition that such accusations lack credibility.
the party has made studious (and apparently successful) efforts
to re-brand itself as respectable, and separate its new identity The final point that separates the 43 Group and the Union party
from its old, violent image. At a conference in 2008 British from the BNP and groups like UAF, is that the 43 Group was well-
sociologist Paul Gilroy argued prophetically that when the party established within the communities in which it operated. These
is in a position to send “... well spoken and respectable young communities often had a history of fascist intimidation and
women” out canvassing, the anti-racist campaigners would recognised a blackshirt when they saw one, even if the uniform
struggle because the old cries of ‘Nazi’ will no longer appear had become casual. Without serious community engagement
credible. The BNP’s recent electoral successes and Nick with the issues that gave the BNP a foothold in the first place,
Griffin’s not entirely laughable bid for the Barking constituency mere sloganeering rings hollow.
suggest that this time is upon us.
Unfortunately there are no quick fixes to this problem.
Yet still the debate has consisted of accusations of Nazism, Opposing the rise of the far right and the political ambitions
countered by BNP claims that they are being suppressed by of the BNP are vital issues. However it cannot be done with
leftist traitors inimical to British interests. While the debate counter demos and posters alone. There are reasons why
remains at this level there is little room for engagement with people move over to supporting the far right. These issues
what those interests are. This is a serious issue; it ensures run deeper than simply being duped by fascist propaganda.
the BNP have had an easy ride with the sections of society Political disillusionment brought on by economic hardship,
they intend to attract. They never have to formulate a unemployment and a collapse of alternative forms of identity
serious policy beyond muddled ethnographic claims about and solidarity all play their part. In such an environment
‘Anglo-Saxon’ Britishness and repatriation of immigrants. the habit of yelling abuse at the BNP without presenting
Their record in power is almost universally abysmal, their alternatives seems a particularly misguided tactic. Rather,
policies on the NHS, the economy, pensions and education what is needed is serious and long-term community
ill-thought through, un-pragmatic and, on occasion, simply engagement with these complaints and the demands of
bizarre. These issues would sink a more established party, the communities involved. Support for the BNP is more of a
yet they are not fatal for the BNP because the debate never symptom than a cause of political crisis; it is a fatal mistake
even approaches them. to view it otherwise. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 11

Academy exclusions
The expected rise in the number academy schools raises several
concerns. David Gillborn and David Drew compare exclusion rates
between types of school, and among different ethnic groups
the last Labour government as a means
of granting greater autonomy to selected
secondary schools. Initially, City Academies
were established in urban areas to serve
disadvantaged communities: they are publicly
funded independent schools, financed by
central government and operating outside
local authority (LA)- control. Subsequently
academies were established beyond urban
areas and the requirement to find an initial
contribution of £2million from outside public
funds was waived. Both the Labour and
Conservative parties entered the 2010 general
election making academies a major part of
their education plans, at which point there
were 203 of them open to students.
Following the establishment
of our Conservative Liberal
For the full Democrat coalition
references & ta is government in May 2010,
ith th
data that go w academies have been at
article email o rg
the heart of rapid policy
m edetru st.o developments. Two weeks
after the coalition published its
initial agreement, Secretary of
State for Education Michael Gove
MP wrote to all headteachers inviting
them to apply for academy status.
Seven days later, Gove announced that
1,114 schools had contacted his department
Photo: Benjamin Chia

in response to the invitation, 626 of which

Lewis Hamilton MBE,
who was excluded were rated as ‘outstanding’ in their last report
from school aged 16 by inspections body Ofsted, and therefore
already pre-approved for academy status.

The expansion in the number of academy
t is easy, when looking into school as documented in various research studies, schools could see a steep rise in the number of
exclusion rates, to forget that human stories such as Maud Blair’s Why Pick on Me? permanent exclusions. It has been known for
lie behind the numbers. Formula One 2008 Though the public image of excluded pupils sometime that, on average, academies exclude
Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton is one is one of unruly youngsters attacking staff considerably more pupils than LA-maintained
case in point. Aged 16, he was excluded from or other pupils, this is not the reality in schools. However, no data on race and academy
school in a case of mistaken identity after he most cases. The most common reason for exclusions has been available, until now.
witnessed an attack. permanent exclusion is ‘persistent disruptive Earlier this year Runnymede’s exclusions
In his autobiography, My Story, he writes: behaviour’: a very broad and ill-defined area e-conference ( included an
“I knew I was innocent but (the headteacher) that accounted for more than 30 per cent of exchange about academies and their record on
did not appear to be interested. Subsequent permanent exclusions in the most recently exclusions. A reply by the then Department
letters to the local education authority, our published data. By contrast, physical assaults for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)
local MP, the education secretary and even against other pupils and staff accounted for (now the Department for Education) offered
the prime minister, were of no help. No one 15.7 per cent and 11.6 per cent of exclusions the first concrete statement on race and
appeared to listen – no one either wanted to or respectively. Such assaults are of course very academy exclusions. The response said:
had the time. We were on our own, and I was serious, but they do not lie behind the majority “Academies often inherit a large number of
out of school.” of school exclusions. disengaged pupils from their predecessor
Hamilton’s experiences of isolation and schools and need to establish good behaviour
rejection due to this miscarriage of justice
Growth in numbers in order to raise attainment. As the new ethos
are shared by many black pupils each year, Academy schools were established by and behaviour policies are implemented

12 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


in an academy’s early days, the number of Of course, it is not possible to guarantee the diversity of the pupil population that
exclusions may rise, but it typically falls that we are comparing like with like. To date they serve. Once again, the exclusions reality
as behaviour improves. Taking account of academies have served more diverse and does not support the public image. The most
academies’ overall exclusion rates (across the disadvantaged populations than the national recent statistics on the impact of exclusions
range of ethnicities), recent analysis has shown average. However, in view of the imminent panels shows that more than 90 per cent of
that there is not a disproportionately higher expansion of academies these figures sound exclusions were not even taken before an
rate of exclusions of black pupils against non- an important warning. Academies exclude appeals panel. This contradicts the idea that
black exclusions in academies compared with significantly more pupils than their local countless appeals are frivolously entered into.
mainstream secondary schools.” authority counterparts. Despite the doubling In total, around 2 per cent of permanent
of exclusion rates for white pupils, a exclusions were eventually overturned by
significant race inequality remains because appeals panels, and so the system hardly
Composition of academies most exclusion rates for black pupils also rise constitutes a huge disruption to the flow
in academies. It is vital that the expansion of exclusions. However, panels are highly
The first thing to note is that, at present, of academy status is carefully monitored for significant to the people who take their
academies are somewhat more diverse than signs of continuing, even worsening, ethnic cases forward in hope of finding justice. In
the pupil population nationally: 62 per cent inequalities in the rate of permanent exclusion. 2007/08 panels found in favour of the parent/
of academy pupils are white, compared with
pupil in around a quarter of cases that were
83 per cent of pupils across LA-maintained
heard. In the last decade for which data are
secondary schools. Appeals panels available, the proportion of appeals that
After their white peers, black pupils
have found in favour of the parent/pupil has
make up the next largest group in academies: Appeals panels represent a vital safeguard
ranged between a high of 37 per cent and a
almost 20 per cent were categorised as black against miscarriages of justice; a chance for
low of 20 per cent.
Caribbean, black African, other black or parents’ voices to be heard. Lewis Hamilton’s
Clearly exclusions are by no means a
mixed (with one white parent and one black experience of exclusion provides a fitting
straightforward issue and panels appear to find
Caribbean or black African parent). This same example. Hamilton’s school career was saved
that a significant proportion raise causes for
group accounted for just 5 per cent of pupils because his father mounted a meticulous
concern. In view of these findings, any move
in LA-maintained secondary schools. defence that persuaded an independent appeal
to abolish appeals panels would be premature
This profile reflects the location of panel to reinstate him.
and, by denying pupils and parents the right
academies; most have been established in Every year significant numbers of
to be heard outside the school, contrary to the
urban areas with greater than average levels permanent exclusions are overturned in this
principles of natural justice.
of disadvantage. However, as academy status way. Hamilton’s experience is important in that
spreads and includes a significant number of it shows the pupil’s side of the story. Appeals
schools that are already performing above the panels are the last hope for those wrongly The effects of exclusion
average, it is likely that the pupil profile will accused who are facing a hugely negative
become less diverse. impact to their future life chances. And yet Exclusion from school is the most serious
appeals panels are frequently scapegoated sanction available to headteachers and
as somehow linked to disruption and permanent exclusion is strongly related to
Race and exclusions indiscipline in society in general, and schools negative academic and social outcomes.
in particular. The coalition government has Pupils who have been permanently excluded
Academies permanently exclude pupils at yet to make any announcement on their future from school are four times more likely to
roughly twice the rate of LA-maintained but pre-election statements cast doubt on their leave education without qualifications and
secondary schools. continued existence. In a 2008 working paper much more likely to come into contact with
Overall, pupils in academies are excluded on behaviour and schools, the Conservative the criminal justice system, according to data
at a rate of 0.42 per cent (which means that party stated: “We will end the right to appeal provided by the Cabinet Office. Academy
around four pupils in every thousand are against exclusion to an independent appeals schools currently exclude a much higher
permanently excluded); the rate for LA- panel, which undermines headteachers’ proportion of their pupils than other types of
maintained secondaries is 0.21 per cent authority and signals that the school cannot school, and their rate of exclusion for black
(roughly two pupils per thousand). cope with violence.” pupils is higher still. As the new government
In academies the relatively high rate of Prior to the 2010 general election, David expands the academy programme, therefore,
exclusion among several groups is striking. Cameron said: “The headteacher should have there is a very real risk of even higher
Black pupils are generally the most likely absolute discretion over excluding pupils who rates of exclusion nationally, with all the
to be excluded from academies; pupils are behaving badly. Right now a headteacher associated financial and social costs this
categorised as ‘any other black background’, can exclude a child who behaves appallingly would involve.
black Caribbean, and mixed: (white and black and the appeals panel can put that kid straight However, this is not an inevitable
Caribbean) are excluded at the rate of 0.74, back into school.” outcome, as the rate of exclusion is
0.72 and 0.64 per cent respectively. The black In our experience appeals panels think long susceptible to external influence. Official
Caribbean rate is 3.6 times that for whites in and hard before reinstating an excluded pupil, targets to reduce exclusion rates in the
an LA-maintained secondary school. not least because of the adverse publicity 1990s made a significant impact, with black
However, white pupils are twice as likely that can be generated as the result of a bad exclusion rates roughly halved within this
to be excluded from academies as from LA- decision. Indeed, many parents have reported period. It is essential that as academy status
maintained schools. By contrast, pupils a sense of fear and bewilderment when facing is taken up by increasing numbers of schools,
categorised as black African or Asian are such panels, often without professional the possible impact on exclusions is taken
marginally less likely to be excluded from representation or support. Furthermore, seriously and genuine safeguards are put in
academies than from other types of school. research suggests that panels rarely reflect place to tackle racial inequality. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 13

Key to diversity in the
media is off-screen
The BBC’s head of diversity Amanda Rice brings together some of
the most interesting outcomes of a conference to discuss the media
industry and how to improve the diversity within it

t is the responsibility of public service ability to accurately reflect the diversity of background. The highest figure of the same
broadcasters to reflect the complexity of the UK’s many audiences. Couple this with research as regards separate television genres
modern society. This means reflecting the using people on-screen who look and sound was 18 per cent – in relation to those appearing
differences within and between the UK’s like modern Britain to present programmes, in soap operas. It is interesting to look at the
communities, nations and regions across all deliver news and appear regularly across all detail too. I was not surprised to see that what
programming and output. What audiences genres in a variety of capacities, and ratings is described as ‘Far Eastern’ in the report were
see, hear or interact with on screen or on air are likely to increase. Moreover the public only represented at 5 per cent, whil the broad
is a representation of the world, channelled service broadcaster will be truly serving the ‘Black’ category was the biggest at 41 per
through the interpretation and production UK’s diverse audiences. cent, followed by South Asian at 32 per cent.
choices of the programme makers. The real challenge is how to make sure the It is early days and robust processes need to
Striving to achieve a fair, sensitive and whole industry recruits, develops and retains be agreed, but it is encouraging that the whole
nuanced portrayal of cultural difference is employees from diverse backgrounds. These industry - public service broadcasters as well
key. Taking care to avoid the stereotypes choices are many and powerful. Decisions as commercial and some independents - are
of old is crucial if programme makers and about subject matter, casting, contributors, now working together far more actively to
broadcasters are to succeed in this purpose. commentary, storylines, scripts, editing, identify ways to build up a true picture of
Authentic portrayal is something audiences music, location, as well as how, when and to what is happening on screen.
recognise as soon as they see it; they expect whom output is promoted, all influence the Returning to the event, Younge compared
to see it, and so they should. ‘reality’ which is then portrayed. This, in turn, viewing now to when, as a child in the 70s, he
can shape the views of society in relation to had excitedly called upstairs to announce the
those groups. fleeting appearance of a black face on screen.
The importance of accuracy Phillips remarked on the numbers of people
from all backgrounds who were interested
For anyone who identifies as being from Is it all white now? enough in the topic to attend the debate at all.
a particular ethnic or cultural community, Given this however, he questioned why there
specificity is all-important. Cultural references, With all that in mind, I attended the Royal are still so few black and minority ethnic
as long as they are accurate and do not appear Television Society event Diversity in (BME) people at the top in the broadcast
gratuitous, will resonate with particular Broadcasting - is it all white now? in May and creative media sector. His contention
audiences because they serve to identify 2010. It was encouraging to hear Equalities was that it is the culture of the industry,
backgrounds, social mores, beliefs and so on. and Human Rights Commission chair which is still underpinned by an innate lack
Such cultural signifiers, and the distinct and Trevor Phillips, Diane Abbott MP, and Pat of confidence in the abilities and leadership
varied representational contexts within which Younge (the BBC’s first black Head of TV potential of ‘the other’ to hold and succeed in
they appear, can also add great richness and Productions) acknowledge that some progress key decision making roles, that still hinders
creative potential. Choosing subject matter had been over the past decade. progress. Abbott, while acknowledging a
that has a universal relevance but which can It is worth noting that headline findings degree of progress, asked why it had been
also appeal in specificity to distinct audience from a report commissioned by Channel 4 so slow in coming. She cited the habit of
groups will be all the more resonant for some. for pan broadcast industry body the Cultural recruiting in one’s own image, particularly
Within drama, storylines must be relevant, Diversity Network do seem to support this in an industry where it is all about who you
and meaningful and written from a position perception. Top line data that was revealed know, as being a key factor that continues to
of experience and understanding within any to representatives from the independent inhibit opportunities for black talent. In the
given representational context. Get the stories broadcasting sector recently show that within words of BBC non-executive director Samir
right and believable characters are far more a snapshot analysis of TV content across C4, Shah in 2008, the problem is not deliberate
likely to follow. BBC1, BBC2, Sky, ITV1 and Five during a discrimination but something which is far
So, achieving diversity off-screen among three-week period in September last year more insidious: ‘cultural cloning’.
the myriad back-room and behind camera 10.2 per cent of the total TV population were A discussion on ways to counter this
personnel can have a huge impact on the identified as being from an ethnic minority phenomenon then focused on the need for

14 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


Photo: Benedict Hilliard

policies. Marcia Williams, formerly head of in output, Younge emphasised the BBC’s the language is the first hurdle and there is a
diversity at the UK Film Council, spoke from clear public service imperative to serve all broad recognition that the industry functions
the audience about the work that the Broadcast licence fee payers and to ‘reflect the diversity through networks. Issues of exclusion for
Training and Equalities Regulator (BETR) of the UK’, which is a core public purpose. those from working class backgrounds
has been doing with the major broadcasters The assumption here of course is that were discussed as being a very real obstacle
to develop a performance measurement employing a diverse workforce will naturally to achieving greater diversity. The long-
framework promoting equal opportunities in contribute to greater diversity on screen. standing convention that media industry work
employment. Monitoring employee diversity While I would agree with that in principle, experience trainees are unpaid means that those
- and using that data year on year to assess care should be taken not to assume that from lower income families are highly unlikely
progress and identify patterns or trends greater diverse representation is an automatic to get that first foot in the door and exposure to
which can then be addressed - underpins the outcome. A dominant organisational culture all important networks. The panel all conceded
framework. While such data collection is can cause many to leave their difference at the that it is far easier for well-educated, middle
crucial, it must be used in conjunction with door and to wear a somewhat different identity class young people whose parents can afford
clear advice and training to ensure everyone at work. Women are fairly well-represented to support them, to gain the experience needed
understands how to help open up the industry across the industry, if less well in more senior to progress. Thankfully, the major broadcasters
and provide opportunities for all groups, and roles, yet a recent snapshot content analysis are increasingly introducing opportunities for
to demonstrate why employing a diverse revealed men still outnumber women 2:1 on various paid internship programmes.
workforce matters. screen. This figure has remained the same for The event finished with the panel and
a number of years. audience asked to reflect on the critical
All that being said, the industry difference between intentions and outcomes.
Diversity matters undoubtedly values diversity as a bringer of All those who had bothered to turn up were
great talent and as a catalyst for creativity. It likely to have plenty of the former and there is
So, why does it matter? Younge and Helen is just the small matter of how to bring it in much good work underway across the sector.
Veale, of Outline Productions, described and develop it, so that there are more diverse For those working in the industry though, it
what they saw as the fundamental drivers for faces and perspectives around the top tables is achieving the latter that matters. We must
diversity both on and off screen. Veale focused and among the key decision makers. now ensure the industry successfully brings in
on the overarching imperative to attract big Younge, while acknowledging and develops a critical mass of highly skilled,
audiences. That, she argued, was the rationale improvements in policy and practice around creative talent from the widest range of social
for reflecting diverse audiences. In addition to recruitment, pointed to the whole industry as and cultural backgrounds. This will be pivotal
the moral imperative and the obvious good still being notoriously difficult to navigate for in shaping and influencing the future look,
business sense of seeking to reflect diversity any potential new entrant. Just understanding feel and sound of UK media output. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 15

Then and now
Rosalind Edwards and Chamion Caballero outline the findings of their
research into prejudice faced by lone mothers of mixed-race children
BBC Diversity Manager Sue Caro raised
professionals. Though overt forms of
sons Ajani (L) and Omari on her own prejudice can still be all too prevalent
in the everyday lives of lone mothers
of mixed racial and ethnic children, the
contemporary mothers spoke about
assumptions and racism taking covert
and implied, rather than more direct,
forms. By contrast, the 1960s lone
mothers reported direct and explicit
remarks and discriminatory treatment.

Raising children
A striking distinction between the
concerns of the two sets of lone mothers
relates to changing understandings
of children’s needs over the past half
a century. All the women expressed
similar worries about their financial and
material situations, but the contemporary
mothers also focused on concerns about
supporting their children’s emotional well-
being in relation to their ethnic identities
Photo: Courtesy of Sue Caro

as well as being in a lone parent family.

These kinds of references to children’s
identity and family structure were almost
entirely absent in the discussions of the
1960s mothers.

These distinctions may well be connected

Lone mothers bringing up children from Racial prejudice and social to wider social changes. Both in relation
to understanding of the relevance of racial
mixed racial and ethnic backgrounds assumptions and ethnic identities and, secondly, the
have long been subject to negative
judgments about their moral behaviour reframing of contemporary childrearing
We found that, in both the 1960s and
and childrearing. Any mother bringing as a complex set of skills that require
2000s (the periods from which our
up a child without a resident man has parents to be ever-involved and watchful.
data came), mothers - and particularly
been seen as transgressing various white mothers whose children’s fathers
social boundaries. But for those were from black African or African Fathers’ involvement
women whose children are from mixed Caribbean backgrounds – keenly felt
ethnic backgrounds, it is clear that that derogatory assumptions were made Assumptions are often made that mixed
such pathologisation is compounded. about women who partnered outside of racial and ethnic children brought up in
their own racial or ethnic backgrounds. lone mother families have little, if any,
However, mixed-race families, These social judgments usually involved contact with their biological fathers. The
including those headed by lone the mother’s sense of morality and her mothers’ accounts, both then and now,
mothers, have been part of the sexual behaviour. In this respect, it showed that non-resident fathers could
social fabric of the UK for decades. seems that little has changed over the be a presence in their children’s lives
Knowledge about their situation, past half a century. in variable ways. The level of contact
however, both now and in the past, is and contributions of fathers differed
thin on the ground. This is where Lone But the mothers’ accounts did indicate as much in the 1960s as they did in
Mothers of Mixed Racial and Ethnic that there may have been some shifts the 2000s. Some were a noticeable,
Children: Then and Now, the research in the way in which such attitudes even constant presence, others were in
report I co-authored with Chamion are expressed socially, especially contact intermittently or absent entirely.
Caballero, fills in some of the gaps. regarding interactions with officials and In this respect, it seems that fathers’

16 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


involvement has not changed over time.

Sue Caro and her
sons as young boys
However the social context has shifted
considerably. The responsibility that most
of the contemporary mothers expected
their children’s fathers to take is echoed
in government policy, which obliges the
non-resident parent to contribute regular
financial support for their children. Such
policy obligations are accompanied
by social expectations, which see the
presence of biological fathers as playing
an important role in children’s identity and
development. These sorts of obligations
and expectations were not a part of the
1960s mothers’ lives, either on personal
or societal levels.

Family relationships
Hostility, rejection and isolation from
their parents and families of origin have
long been thought to be the fate of lone
mothers of mixed racial and ethnic
children. The accounts of both sets of
mothers we looked at for our research
showed a continuation of variability in
experiences of such relationships within
the two time periods. Some have close
and supportive relationships with their
families, others have more strained or
difficult interactions - and not necessarily
due to the fact of having partnered
outside their racial or ethnic group.

Photo: Courtesy of Sue Caro

A significant shift, however, is the family
relationships that contemporary mothers
may now have with their children’s
fathers’ families, particularly if those
families are from ethnic or racial minority
backgrounds. The majority of the
contemporary mothers had contact with available to lone mothers. There are constant over the last half a century,
the father’s family, many on a regular now numerous specialist organisations however, is the type of informal support
basis. Again, although the type and that provide advice, information and that lone mothers of mixed racial and
quality of this contact varied amongst support. Furthermore, the provision of ethnic children draw on. In addition
families, it appears present in a way that resources that help mothers to support to the roles that the children’s fathers
was almost completely unknown for lone their children’s racial or ethnic identity and extended families may play,
mothers in the 1960s. This lack of contact development, as well as other aspects friendship networks feature strongly in
is doubtless reflective of patterns of of their children’s emotional well-being, mothers’ accounts, both then and now.
migration and settlement in Britain among has also been a significant development In particular, though their importance
minority ethnic families at the time, with for mothers. can often be overlooked, friendship
men likely to have travelled to England networks in which mothers can share
alone. The availability of wider minority common experiences with other women
These trajectories of continuity and
ethnic kin suggests an additional support in the same circumstances appear to
change in experiences of attitudes and
source for lone mothers of mixed-race be of great importance to them. With
support for lone mothers bringing up
children in modern Britain. such informal networks often providing
mixed-race children in the UK across
40 years reveal both similarities and sources of invaluable support in mothers’
Support networks differences, not only between the lives, it may be important to consider the
1960s and 2000s, but also within each effect of an absence of such networks
Over the past 40 years or so, time period. may have, particularly in situations where
considerable shifts have taken other resources are limited.
place in the formal support services What appears to have remained a For the full report: summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 17

and risk
Camille Aznar argues for a new
discourse on risk analysis as
related to migration policy

ver the past two decades, EU discourse has served to
emphasise the positive role of migration for social and
economic development and has highlighted the role
of diasporas in the development of migrants’ countries
of origin. Additionally, national governments have persisted
with the political priority of securing Europe’s external borders
with an increasingly reactive approach to immigration. Many
migration management measures have intensified, particularly
since 9/11 (with the development of citizenship tests, increase in
deportation orders, militarisation of border control and so on); a
tendency which has been heightened by the current economic

Photo: David Dennis

crisis which has left millions in Europe jobless.
Migration management policies that limit entry to skilled A girl waits
migrants have become increasingly stringent and somewhat uncertainly at
the US border
of a policy trend in many European countries. Faced with
conflicting dynamics (while the economic logic of liberalism
is one of openness, the political and legal logic is one of citing the importance of ‘risk management’ as a strategy for
closure, something that James Hollifield refers to as the “liberal border control. This strategy is reportedly oriented towards
paradox”) and in attempts to balance the costs and benefits of identifying and screening out risky immigrants and visitors from
immigration, countries have had to re-conceptualise migration desirable tourists, business visitors and skilled migrants. New
in terms of risk management. e-borders, involving the biometric data collection of visitors to
the UK are being used to fix people’s identities at the earliest
point practicable. The young coalition government is likely to go
Managing risk a step further, considering their pledge to introduce an annual
limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants allowed to
On one hand migration is depicted as an essential adjustment
work in the country.
variable for the labour market which is couched as a positive
Though issues of border security and control are not to
risk, while on the other hand it is often portrayed in terms of
be minimised, it is important to note that imposing excessive
negative risks (i.e. terrorism, crime, disorder, cultural anxiety,
controls on migration poses its own risks. For example,
public health, etc). Arguably, stringent migration management
excessive control might deter wanted and needed migration.
has resulted in high-risk migration, primarily in the form of
Meanwhile the contraction of legal entry channels can
irregular migration, which is currently targeted for attention,
cause more desperate migrants to enter the country via illicit

Those leaving their

means, thereby fuelling people smuggling and the criminal
organisations associated with it.

country of origin due to a Migration risk and government policy

lack in opportunities will Over the last 20 years, the broader notion of risk has become
continue to run the risks central to every government policy initiative, from the ecological
risk to the terrorist and medical risk. According to contemporary
involved in migration thinker Ulrich Beck we now live in an era of risk or a ‘risk society’,
which is characterised by a heightened awareness of risk and its
changing nature. He argues, along with supporters of his work,
while low risk migration, such as the influx of skilled workers, that living in a ‘world risk society’ makes us both involved and
is channelled through specially designed entry programmes. vulnerable to local, national and global risks in our personal and
Recent documentation from the Border and Immigration professional lives. In his book Risk Society Beck notes that, prior
Agency of the Home Office has mirrored this shift, explicitly to this notion of global risk, “hazards assaulted the nose or the

18 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


eyes and were thus perceptible to the sense, while the risks of resources are then pooled with income from migration in order
civilisation today typically escape perception.” One of the main to meet the needs of families elsewhere.
concepts of the risk society is that of reflexive modernity. Broadly High-risk migration, typically involving non-documented
speaking, this has several interlinking threads. The first is that migrants, can include a spectrum of risks with various
economy, governance and culture are now global, and that the combinations of probability and severity. For example, the
power of the nation-state has diminished. Going alongside this maximum severity risk - that of death - may only be of a small
is an increase in the magnitude and complexity of risks that are probability. However, economic loss, physical abuse, or other
now out of all proportion to any previously encountered, and forms of hardship, though less severe than death, could be
have outgrown the regulatory ability of national state-based much more likely. Making this distinction between the various
legal systems. The risk society, Beck asserts, is also a society types of risk and their levels of severity can refine analysis of
based on ‘individualisation’, that is, traditional social ties are decision-making processes in high-risk migration. Information
being replaced by individualised, choice-based social, political about relative risk in these cases becomes one of numerous
and economic institutions. Though this increases freedom, it factors affecting the decision to migrate, and is often not the
also increases the risks that individuals are forced to take in most important. Often, risk-taking decisions are made on
areas such as employment and welfare – i.e. they may well the basis of risk perceptions, which are in turn influenced by
struggle to earn a basic living. Social hierarchies are now based information about the potential risks involved in the migration
on risk rather than wealth, and people are more focused on the process as well as also personal experience.
distribution of ‘bads’, (or the realisation of untoward risks) than For example, evidence on ‘pirogue migration’ (unauthorised
on the production of goods. migration aboard small boats from West Africa to the Canary
Marginalised people, among them migrants, become Islands) suggests that, in many cases, the migration does
vulnerable to an increasing number of risks, while also not result from ignorance about risks, but from the need to
categorised as being ‘risky’. Those in need of help potentially overcome poverty and hardship. A similar point is observed
are more likely to be seen as a threat and potentially further by U.S border policy analyst, Joseph Nevis, in demonstrating
marginalised or excluded from the societies in which they live. the US government’s use of risk as a tool to discourage
Migrants, and particularly irregular migrants, are more likely unauthorised crossings. The U.S Border Patrol have
to be excluded in their host countries by being categorised increased the number of agents on each major entry corridor
as “risky”. This experience of exclusion then negates full civic such as El Paso or San Diego while developing its use of
membership of a community, hindering migrants’ potential technology; attempting to raise the risk of apprehension high
contribution to wider society. enough to be an effective deterrent.
If states put risks, potential or real, However, there appears to be no
at their heart of their decision making decrease in crossings.
on migration management, migrant Information campaigns that purport
populations will bear the consequences Fact box the assumption that migrants are
of associating migration with risk. While unaware of the dangers involved in high-
risk and uncertainty are pervasive in all Since 1998 more than 4,000 risk migration have proved ineffective.
forms of migration and at all stages of the people have died trying There is indeed no straightforward
migration cycle, this uncertainty should to cross the Mexican-American relationship between risk awareness
not be used to malign migrants and the border. Annually, more than and attitudes to dangerous migration.
migration process. 600,000 migrants are apprehended What appear to be the deciding factor
as they attempt to cross the border for migrants considering a perilous
to the north without documents border crossing, is how dire the life
Reducing risk opportunities they are escaping, rather
More than 5,900 child than the risk involved in the process.
It is important to acknowledge that migrants arrived in the
people decide to migrate for a multitude European Union in 2009, compared
of reasons: poverty, social upheaval, with 3,380 in 2008. The UN High A change of perspective
political turmoil, economic instability, Commission of Refugees (UNHCR)
unstable climates as well as to live and has warned that these children Repressive migration management
earn outside their country of origin. Many could be in danger of abuse policies are, therefore, doomed to fail for
of the factors that lead to migration, such as long as the conceptualisation of risk
as social upheaval, increase a person’s Over the last decade, more remains outdated. As long as the main
vulnerability, but those who migrate than 13,000 bodies have been reason for migrants to leave their country
often do so as a risk reduction strategy. recovered in the Mediterranean, of origin is the lack of opportunities or
In many cases, migration becomes a many of them thought to be right to make a decent life in their home
necessity in order to earn a living, or migrants attempting to reach Italy country, they will continue to run maximum
to escape or recover from traumatic from North Africa. severity risks. Treating migration as a
experiences. The intention of the migrant ‘risk’ needing to be managed has proved
Around 1.7 million Afghan
is to further reduce risks of violence and ineffective. The debate on migration
economic vulnerability. refugees and migrants live
and development should focus on
The American sociologist Douglas in Pakistan, and 933,000 in the identifying positive synergies between
Massey argued that for many migrants, Islamic Republic of Iran migration and risk management, rather
migration was a way to capitalise on the than the development of more restrictive
household’s labour power, as household migration control policies. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 19

How representative would
proportional represenation be?
Omar Khan takes us through alternative voting systems. With each
available for scrutiny, conclusions can be drawn on whether a change
in voting system would equal a change in representation

he question of what makes a voting being elected, 16 Labour and 11 Conservative and electoral systems? First, that the choice of
system proportional is difficult and Just over 4 per cent of parliament is now system does indeed have some effect, but the
contentious, so it is important to BME, compared to roughly 10-11 per cent effect derives from more ‘pure’ proportional
focus on the question of how different BME in the total population; the 2001 Census systems, such as single transferable vote (with
systems may impact black and minority ethnic counted 8 per cent BME people, while the more than one representative per constituency)
(BME) representation in the UK. 2007 estimate for England was 11.3 per cent or party lists. Other considerations include how
According to Nick Clegg in his first speech and, given existing trends, the 2011 Census is constituency boundaries are drawn, and the
as deputy prime minister, more proportional likely to estimate a UK BME population at 11 dispersal of a given population.
systems provide better representation for to 12 per cent Second, however, is that party leadership
under-represented groups. But the evidence The Scotland, Wales and London and commitment to ethnic representation is as
(internationally and in the UK) on this point Assemblies all have mixed voting systems, important as the proportionality of a system in
is more complicated, especially for the AV with the majority decided by FPTP, and increasing the numbers of under-represented
(alternative vote) system on which the coalition between 33 and 44 per cent of their members groups.
government has agreed to hold a referendum. chosen by proportional lists. Scotland and In the Netherlands, for example, the
Most European countries have various Wales have very small BME populations, but popularity of anti-immigrant parties led leaders
kinds of proportional voting systems. Only each assembly has returned one BME member to place black and minority ethnic candidates in
one country - the Netherlands - does as well or through their list system. The Scottish MSP, a high position on their lists, thereby ensuring
better than the UK in terms of the representation Bashir Ahmed, has since died, while the Welsh they would get voted in. If, however, party
of black and minority ethnic people. AM, Mohammad Asghar, defected from Plaid leaders do not select BME candidates for their
The Netherlands has a party list system and Cymru to the Conservative party. list, then such candidates are no more likely to
8 per cent of Dutch MPs are BME (compared In London, the four BME assembly get voted in than they are under FPTP.
to roughly 11 per cent of the population). members (16 per cent) represent roughly half This last point is worth reflecting on in the UK
Conversely, France, which has a non- the proportion of London’s BME population context. In recent Westminster elections, both
proportional voting system, has only 2 BME (35 per cent or more), and only one of the four the Labour Party and the Conservative Party
MPs out of 555, or 0.4 per cent compared to an was elected via the list. While proportional have been able to improve the representation
overall BME population of 12.6 per cent. systems seem to provide greater representation of women and BME people through measures
But countries with more proportional voting of BME people, so far this has provided a quite adopted by the party leadership, namely all-
systems do not always deliver more BME modest effect. Indeed, when Scotland moved to women shortlists and the ‘A-list’. Whatever
representatives. For example, in Germany a single transferable voting (STV) system for the merits of these policies, they have been
(where exactly half of all candidates are selected local elections in 2007, there was no increase successful in increasing representation, even in
on a mixed member proportional system) only in the number of BME councillors. a FPTP electoral system.
1.3 per cent of representatives are from a black The European Parliament election And, of course, the unelected House of Lords
and minority ethnic background, compared to further explains the role that proportional is still more representative than the Commons,
almost 5 per cent of the population. representation (PR) might be able to play in indicating that party leaderships could perhaps
For whatever reason, BME candidates are increasing the number of disadvantaged groups deliver even better results. We should therefore
not selected for their parties’ lists in Germany, on UK representative bodies. There is a slightly be cautious in agreeing with Nick Clegg’s
and indeed elsewhere in Europe. It is of course higher number of BME MEPs from the UK (5.7 claim that PR will increase the representation
also likely that different political cultures, per cent) than there is in the House of Commons of disadvantaged and under-represented groups.
citizenship law, and responses to ethnic (4.1 per cent), but there are three caveats. It is worth bearing in mind that the Liberal
diversity are likely to affect representation First is that there are fewer MEPs, meaning Democrats currently have no BME MPs, and
whatever the electoral system. that they each contribute more to proportionality have only a very small number of women MPs.
It is not always appreciated that the UK has (or indeed disproportionality). Second is that Given that the coalition agreement explicitly
a number of different electoral systems in its the number of overall MEPs from all European states that our future referendum will be on
various representative bodies. The key point is countries is very low indeed (1.1 per cent). the alternative vote only, which is not strictly
that the sorts of proportional systems we have Third is that the House of Lords - a chamber speaking a proportional system at all, there is no
in the UK do not tend to result in a significant that is currently wholly appointed - has a reason to believe that this reform will increase
increase in the number of BME representatives. roughly similar share of BME members (5.2 per the number of women or BME MPs. Without
Westminster elections are decided by cent), as does the UK delegation in Brussels, wider changes in political party leadership,
perhaps the most influential example of first and more than in the House of Commons. membership and procedures, electoral reform
past the post (FPTP). In the 2010 UK general What conclusions can we draw from this will not result in our representatives being any
election, this system resulted in 27 BME MPs admittedly brief study of BME representation more proportionate.

20 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

A long way to go
Liberal Democrat councillor and journalist Lester Holloway on
political representation for black and minority ethnic groups

n the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr just about getting black and brown faces into
“We’ve come a long way; we still have a the club, but also recognising that the hopes of
long, long way to go.” This was a comment BME communities rested on their shoulders.
taking stock of gains made in the civil And if they were serious about tackling racism
rights movement. Yet the sentiment equally and disadvantage they could not do it alone;
applies well when reflecting on the increased they needed to organise. Grant was saying, in
numbers of black and minority ethnic MPs at effect, that we still have a long way to go.
the 2010 general election. Today we seem to have come full circle
Since the 1987 breakthrough, when Diane with talk of a UK version of the Congressional

I remember feeling a great

sense of pride when I saw Bernie
Grant turn up to parliament
wearing traditional African robes
Abbott, Keith Vaz, Paul Boateng and the late Black Caucus. But most of the new intake is
Bernie Grant made it to parliament, progress likely to shun black self-organisation, just as
has been painfully slow. Until this year. On 6 Boateng did 23 years earlier. Lester Holloway,
May 2010 BME MPs almost doubled, up from Fooled into believing that the patronage Lib Dem councillor
for Sutton North
15 to 27, while the number of Asian women of their party’s elite and their own talents are
rose from zero to six. enough to guarantee them success, I predict of unity between MPs of colour has cost the
The recent gains are impressive on the face that BME MPs will overlook the achievements very communities who most looked to them
of it, yet put the figures in context and they tell that African-American politicians have made to combat race discrimination. This cost will
a different story altogether. Collectively the courtesy of the Congressional Black Caucus, only be made more striking by the increased
BME MPs only represent four per cent of the favouring instead the ‘mainstreaming’ numbers of BME MPs, while the status quo
House of Commons. This is well short of the approach that is fashionable now. remains the same.
respective figure for the BME population in But mainstreaming needs to be judged This is where voter participation counts.
Britain, which is now estimated to be between by results. Has mainstreaming equality in Not just at election time, but holding our
13 and 15 per cent. the workplace worked, when the already MPs to account on a daily basis. Criminal
Labour’s acting leader Harriet Harman disproportionate levels of BME unemployment justice, unemployment and mental health
said in 2007 that Britain needed four times have rocketed during this recession? Has it data all show disproportionate numbers of
more BME representatives in Westminster worked in the police, where racial bias in stop BME people faring much worse than their
in order to reflect the society government and search has also increased inexorably over white counterparts.
serves. Yet progress remains slow – according past years? I think not. Black communities can, and should,
to new figures from the Office of National Race, gender and religion do have an play a greater role in selecting MPs. Open
Statistics, we still need three and a half times impact on politics where there is a critical primaries offer one route, as does the idea of
more MPs of colour. mass of candidates from a particular an Apprentice-style talent search first floated
I remember feeling immense pride as a community to affect change. Labour by Sunder Katwala of the Fabian Society. We
teenager when I saw Bernie Grant turn up introduced all-women shortlists in the 1997 must not let talk of ‘inclusive politics’ put us
to the state opening of parliament wearing election, resulting in more than 100 new off recognising how much BME talent there is
traditional African robes, and when Paul women MPs, which gave parliament a critical out there – and the need to find it. As an issue,
Boateng declared: “Today Brent South, mass of women. This was used effectively by black representation is too important to be
tomorrow Soweto!” It felt like the dawning Harriet Harman to introduce new measures left to party apparatchiks picking candidates
of a new era and the end of years of struggle. on childcare, maternity leave, domestic and behind closed doors. Not only has progress
That new era faced its first setback when sexual violence and forced marriages. In this been too slow but the BME MPs who have
Grant’s attempts to set up a parliamentary case, representation led to results. been successful have often shied away from
black caucus floundered as Boateng refused How different might life have been for directly tackling ingrained racism in society.
to cooperate. BME communities today had Grant been In an era of ‘new politics’, now is the time to
Grant realised that representation was not successful in creating a caucus? Sadly, a lack grasp just how much there is still to do. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 21

Are you passionate about race equality?

Do you want to increase your connections and challenge racism?

Runnymede 360° is a new national network connecting aspiring and established leaders in
race equality. By joining the network you would increase your knowledge base, improve your
professional skills, and make contacts that may help you in your work, while also contributing to
challenging racism.

Being part of Runnymede 360° will enable members to:

•• have the opportunity to raise their profile
•• share their experience and learn from others
•• create partnerships across regions and sectors for future work
•• have early access to Runnymede’s work and events
•• have access to the latest policy developments related to race equality

Runnymede draws on over forty years’ experience providing research intelligence, policy
influence, and partnership building in order to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain. The aim
of Runnymede 360° is to bring together the most passionate and innovative thinkers and actors in
race equality from all sectors, backgrounds and regions of the UK. The network meets monthly at
seminars, e-conferences and receptions. It also has an online discussion space to keep up with
the latest current events and policy developments on race equality.

The ideal candidate will:

•• have been working in private, public or voluntary sectors for a minimum period of five years
•• have an understanding of the policy and practice landscape on national and/or local levels
•• have the ability to apply their knowledge, creativity and experience to their commitment to
race equality, equal opportunities and social justice
•• be committed to the network for at least two years during which they will be expected to con-
tribute to the Runnymede Bulletin, attend Runnymede 360° on/offline events, and participate
in the Runnymede 360° social networking space

Most importantly, the Runnymede 360° member will have something to say and will want to say it.

Why not apply to join? The deadline for applications is 30 August 2010 for interviews taking
place in the cities of Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

For more information on current members and details on how to apply go to:

22 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

Ending racist violence
Sarah Isal is co-author of a forthcoming Runnymede report on
preventing racist violence in the European Union. Here she outlines
what can be learned from the work already being done

here is currently not a single policy and arts engagement. For instance, a context of racist attitudes, coming from their
European country untouched by the theatre project, working with young people peers and the wider society around them. For
problem of racist violence. Numbers to express and then question some of their this reason, it is important to have a holistic
of incidents seem to be increasing prejudice was effective in preventing young approach to prevention. These are just a few
every year, a trend which goes hand in hand people from engaging in racist violence of the themes discussed in the roundtable and
with the growing popularity of extreme right and harassment in their neighbourhoods. which feature in the roundtable report, out
movements, both in EU member states, as Similarly, a targeted intervention by a youth shortly. In addition, the report includes good-
well as in the European Parliament itself. worker on an estate working with a group practice examples of work carried out by the
Therefore, European countries simply cannot of young people who expressed extremely various organisations present, highlighting
ignore this problem. racist views led to a drastic reduction of racial the unique feature for each project that could
Racist violence and harassment takes harassment in that particular neighbourhood. be replicated in different settings.
various shapes and forms. In some cases, it We have seen a variety of responses to the Broadly speaking, the projects show-
expresses itself through extreme violence, violence affecting minorities in Europe. The cased in the report could be categorised into
such as the recent murders of Roma families in response can depend on the country’s tradition three types. First, those that challenge racist
Hungary at the hands of extreme-right groups. of answering to racist violence, whether it is discourses and change the environment
However, racist violence is not only about the recognised as an issue, whether data on racist through leisure activities or humour. For
extreme cases, it also manifests itself in the violence is available or not, or if for instance example, Les Indivisibles (France) seek to
daily harassment of minority groups because extreme right parties are part of government. identify racist prejudice in public discourse.
of what they look like, whom they worship All these factors have an impact on both levels Rather than directly challenging the language,
they use humour to allow people to think
about it and not take the newspaper headlines
Racist violence is also about for granted as being true. Les Indivisibles
also stage a mock ceremony, handing special

the cases of daily harrassment ‘awards’ to politicians and journalists who

have made the most racist comments.
Second, there are those projects that bring
or where they come from. As Ben Bowling of racist violence nationally and any responses different groups together in various activities
stated: “Any discussion of violent racism (or lack of) to it. Runnymede organised a to challenge racist attitudes and stereotypes.
must link the extreme to the everyday.” European roundtable in October 2009 in For example, Plant a Flag Against Racism
Taking all these things into consideration, London, bringing together a range of projects (Belgium) uses leisure activities to teach
as well as the fact that most perpetrators of from eight European countries that work about anti-racism, bringing youth of different
racist (and other) violence do not get caught, with young people to tackle the underlying backgrounds together to break down
Runnymede has long argued for a stronger causes of racism, with an aim to prevent stereotypes. They give quality labels to local
focus on prevention. While it is crucial to it. At the roundtable, participants shared youth work groups and projects who work on
ensure that victims of racist violence and their experience of working on prevention, anti-racism.
harassment get appropriate support and focusing on the specific themes affecting Third, there are projects included that
particular attention needs to be paid to bringing their work, such as inter-agency work, whole- provide training and promote awareness
perpetrators to justice, it is equally important community approaches, the support needs of raising. For example, Show Racism the Red
to find ways to reduce the number of people staff, the challenges around funding and the Card (UK) engages in anti-racism education
actually engaging in such violence. This can strategies to accurately monitor and evaluate using the high profile of professional
be done by working with them to challenge their work. A forthcoming report has emerged footballers. The organisation produces anti-
sometimes deeply entrenched racist attitudes. from this roundtable, which draws together racist resources such as DVDs, education
Over the past decade Runnymede has taken the commonalities and lessons learnt from the packs, posters and magazines, and organise
an interest in what works to prevent racist different practices outlined. educational programmes of work for young
violence, in particular through challenging Prevention is not always a popular notion. people, as well as festivals, events and
racist attitudes with potential perpetrators. It is hard to quantify, and showing the impact competitions.
Past research has found that prevention work of preventative strategies can also be a The roundtable report will therefore be
takes many forms, and can work at a variety challenge. How do you, for instance, prove of use to any practitioner working towards
of levels. In particular, our 2005 research that a particular young person would have combating racist violence, through work with
(see reported that committed a racist crime without a particular young people in particular.
prevention work could be found in diverse intervention? Similarly, not all racists will
policy areas, ranging from community go on to commit an act of racist violence, * Roundtable report will be available shortly.
cohesion to crime reduction strategies, youth but those who do often operate in a broader For 2002 report see: summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 23

A VIEW FROM... Wales

Isabel Adonis has explored her own mixed-race identity through

visual art and her book And: A conjunction of history and imagination.
Here she reflects on her experience of being non-white and Welsh

ales is light years away from community. The only place I can have in the
London; and north Wales is legislative framework is as an ‘other’.
light years away from Cardiff. The pressure on ethnic minorities is one
Llandudno, where I live, is still of participation and representation, as if there
trying hard to be Victorian. What is ordinary were a unified community or group that we
in London is still extraordinary here. Not that must join. But this sense of nation is for the
there are no tensions between cultures and purpose of power, and only imagined. There
communities in cities across the border, but is no homogenised Welsh community, neither
there is a familiarity, a notion at least of a is there a unified notion of self or a fixed
growing multicultural society. Here in north identity. I am Welsh, West Indian, mixed,
Wales, however, people like me are supposed whatever, and not truly any of these. Identities
to live in London or Manchester, or go back to and nations are ideas - fictions that serve to
where they came from. I am one of a scattered divide people as they bring them together. The
few; not one of many. This makes a huge discourse of power is always about whom to
difference to every aspect of life as a minority leave in and whom to leave out.
ethnic person in Wales.
Over the years, all manner of confusion
has been brought to my door, which has been
Wales as separate
nothing to do with me. But this is the place
Wales has separated itself from England.
I came to when I was a little girl and this is
And it has separated itself from ethnic
the only place I can call home. My mother
minorities, gays and Gypsies, only to then
was Welsh and my upbringing was Welsh. I
claim them back under the rubric of diversity relationship. There are no new meanings and
am Welsh, and yet I do not fit in Wales, and
and inclusiveness. There is talk about the there is nothing new about the new nation.
neither do my children.
Even as I write I am making a judgement

There is talk about the black about who I am and it is an impossible,

uncertain place to be in. I am standing between
what I know and what I do not know, and I
Welsh, but no one mentions the cannot rely on the former. I am simultaneously
an ethnic minority and not an ethnic minority,

white Welsh; it is taken for granted Welsh and blatantly not Welsh. When I leave
the house I’m black to the world, but to
myself, I don’t even come under the mixed
that Welsh means white category since I scarcely knew my father and
have never visited the Caribbean.
My problem with the devolved government There is no game to be won here and it
‘black Welsh’, but no one mentions the is impossible to do anything about it. Yet
and just about everyone else is that they want ‘white Welsh’; it is taken for granted that
to make me black. To claim I am white would there is everything to do. And I guess it is
Welsh means white. Again, being Welsh the same for those in power, caught always
be a joke, but I certainly do not want to be means to assert racial difference; ‘we’ are
grateful for being granted a place in my own between doing something about it and not
not English, or any of those other categories. doing anything at all.
country. The so-called ‘new nation’ (in Wales) And Wales is unfortunately reinventing the
is welcoming black people as though there A new society requires change and not
culture of its English oppressor, even while merely a change in policy. We have to change
is a need to catch up with London. Ethnic claiming its unique Welshness. To every
minority credentials must be paraded, and our minds, which is the difficult part. Same and
English thing there must be a Welsh thing different have to sit comfortably side by side.
Wales must be seen to be inclusive. Wales’ - even a Full English (breakfast) is replaced
interest in slavery is now being discussed and White folks so often think they are dealing
by a Full Welsh! with difference as though it is some entity
written about, though no one was interested
before. But even as I am given a place as outside of themselves, not understanding that
‘black Welsh’, I am denied my own voice, Difference and identity they too have to be different.
which is not black Welsh. I don’t know any *For more information about Isabel
black people apart from saying hello to the To establish a cultural identity Wales requires Adonis’ work or to order a copy of her book
odd one or two, and I don’t live in a black difference. This is not a hybrid or renegotiated visit:

24 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

A VIEW FROM... Poland

Rafal Pankowski looks back at an extraordinarily turbulent year in

Polish politics. What might the unexpected loss of a number of the
country’s political elite mean for race relations?

olish President Lech Kaczynski, his views, such as Artur Gorski who lamented of educational opportunities and a disastrous
wife, almost 100 members of the the election of Barack Obama as ‘the end of situation in the job market in some regions.
Polish political elite and other figures white man’s civilisation’. This is coupled with prejudices persisting
died in a plane crash in Smolensk, Populist anti-minority mobilisations are in institutions and in the wider society, in
Russia, on 10 April 2010. The group included employed in Polish politics even despite particular the Roma in the south of Poland and
leaders of the Polish left, such as Izabela the numerical weakness of today’s minority the Belorussians in the north-east. Michael
Jaruga-Nowacka MP, a former minister of communities. As a result of the Holocaust Fleming argues that: “the marginalisation of
equality and a good friend of the anti-racist and other wartime atrocities, as well as minority communities continues to be the case
NEVER AGAIN Association. postwar resettlements and emigration waves, despite the advent of the new minority rights
President Lech Kaczynski was a once multicultural Poland is now largely regime, the entry of Poland into the European
controversial figure. He alienated many homogenous, with only around 3 per cent of Union and the passing of a law on national and
liberal-minded voters with his hardline society made up of ethnic minority groups. ethnic minorities.”
policies and rhetoric during his term in office. The new migrant communities have grown Thus, the legal institutional safeguards on
His rightwing populist party Law and Justice slowly but steadily since the early 1990s. minority rights ring hollow in confrontation
(Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc, PiS) scored an They are often confronted with prejudice with socio-economic problems and the
international success by allying itself to the and discrimination. The hegemonic ideal substance of real life.
UK Conservatives in the European Parliament, includes the belief that ‘all Poles are The Brown Book, published by the NEVER
but domestically it was on the way to political Catholic’ and the underlying assumption AGAIN Association chairman Marcin Kornak
oblivion. It had been reduced to just 20 per that members of ethno-religious minorities in 2009, documents hundreds of hate crimes
cent support in the polls and it was bound to cannot be ‘truly Polish’. committed in recent years against various
lose the forthcoming presidential election, Anti-minority discourse was a typical minority groups.
scheduled for October this year. feature of the PiS-led government In a very recent case, a Nigerian-born man
The plane crash shook up the political between 2005 and 2007. In the words of was shot dead in broad daylight by the Polish
landscape. Wild conspiracy theories about the Peter Vermeersch, writing in 2007: “The police near the newly built National Stadium
accident have been championed by the far disjuncture between the growing EU concern in Warsaw on 23 May 2010. Evidence points to
right, including the notoriously anti-Semitic about the promotion of the acceptance of a groundless case of police brutality amplified
Radio Maryja, which is closely connected ethnic diversity, equal opportunities, anti- by racial prejudice. More than 30 black people
with the PiS. discrimination and social inclusion, and the were arrested as a result of the scuffle at the
There were fears of a renewed social way in which minority rights are protected scene of the shooting. Many are demanding an
polarisation and a revived rightwing populist in Poland points to the current limits of independent inquiry into the case; it remains
campaign in the run up to the early presidential European involvement in domestic policy- to be seen if they are heard.
election in June 2010, with Lech Kaczynski’s making and domestic social relations in the Most of the high profile black figures in
twin brother Jaroslaw eventually losing out new member states.” Polish society are football players. They, too,
are frequently subject to racist attitudes. The
East Europe Monitoring Centre was set up by
A Nigerian-born man was the NEVER AGAIN Association in 2009 to
document racist incidents in the run up to the

shot dead by the Polish police, European Football Championship, which is to

take place in Poland and Ukraine in 2012. The
centre is supported by UEFA and the Football
evidence points to a case of Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network.
Racism and xenophobia were not invented
brutality amplified by racial in the football stadium, but we have to start
somewhere - and football can be a good tool

to change hearts and minds.

*Rafal Pankowski is coordinator of the

Warsaw-based East Europe Monitoring
for a place in the top job. He had positioned At the same time, whole ethnic groups Centre, and a lecturer at Collegum Civitas. He
himself as a standard bearer for the hard right. have suffered from structural marginalisation, recently wrote ‘The Populist Radical Right in
His party includes politicians with racist due to their geographical concentration, a lack Poland: The Patriots’ (Routledge, 2010) summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 25

about... Race and representation
of Londo
Diane Abbott became the councillors n’s
to a non-w long
first black woman in the
House of Commons in 1987. hit
ethnic gro e
Now, more than 20 years later, she up
is the first black person to run for
Labour leadership

Among ethnic minority
groups, Indians are most
likely to regularly use the
internet and read newspapers and
magazines; Black Africans are the
least likely to do so

Since 2008, 45% of all black
and minority ethnic (BME)
third sector organisations
in the UK have had their funding

Photo: Wexner Center

cut by local authorities and
other funders
Architect David Adjaye
Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector
Organisations (CEMVO)

Architect David Adjaye is

In London, where more than
30% of the population is
from an ethnic minority, only
18% of local councillors belong to
among just 2% of those working in
a non-white ethnic group
London Councils
the profession who are black

7 9
Operation Black Vote (OBV) When he was first elected

After the general election has existed s­ince 1996 in 1999, Claude Moraes
in May 2010 the number of to urge black and ethnic was London’s first ethnic
minority ethnic MPs almost minority people to vote and claim minority Member of the European
doubled from 14 to 27 a place in British democracy Parliament (MEP) and one of
The Guardian Operation Black Vote (OBV) the first Asian MEPs in the
parliament overall

6 8
PSE Socialist Group in the European Parliament
Scotland Yard’s leadership Only 2% of professional
architects are from black

is all white for the first time
minority backgrounds. Best French-Ivorian Tidjane
in ten years, after deputy
known among them is David Thiam is the first
assistant commissioner Shabir
Adjaye, who has worked to and only black chief
Hussain left in February 2010. He
promote his profession to ethnic executive in Britain’s FTSE 100,
unsuccessfully sued the force for
minority young people appointed to run Prudential plc in
racial discrimination
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
March 2009
BBC News
The Guardian

26 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

vox How can political representation among
black and minority ethnic groups be

increased and why is it important to do so?

Florence Nosegbe Duwayne Brooks Lurline Champagnie OBE Samir Jeraj

Lambeth Councillor Lewisham Councillor Harrow Councillor Norwich City Councillor
Labour Party Liberal Democrats Conservative Party Green Party

Democratic institutions that are Before criticising political To be a truly democratic society, The painfully slow rise in
representative are fundamental parties, black people need to all our communities must be representation of black and
in 21st century Britain. This know who the candidates are well-represented at all levels, minority ethnic (BME) people in
means more than a few black in an election, and vote for the including the socio-political and government and public bodies
and minority ethnic (BME) ones they expect to have an economic spectrum. is an embarrassing indictment
faces in key areas. understanding of their issues. of our democracy.
Statistics and experiences
It is argued that lack of This election has shown that show that there are vast Exclusion of whole groups
representation is a key barrier black voters decided on purely discrepancies in race of society from political
to participation in politics. national issues, not paying representation in the civic and life creates distrust and
Parties must therefore review attention to whom they were democratic processes, and discrimination. While inclusion
their selection processes actually voting for. at the social, economic and means that new perspectives
and use the networks that political decision-making levels. can be brought to the issues
already exist through their BME The argument that political we face.
members. parties should install a black Diversity enriches decision-
person in a safe seat to increase making processes by enabling I have always supported
We must address the issues numbers is a foolish one. policymakers to take action proportional representation if
that affect these communities based on the lives of all men accompanied by changes to
to understand why they feel We, have a duty to ourselves and women, including those how political parties select their
alienated in the political to join parties in our droves from ethnic backgrounds. Our candidates, to avoid party lists
process. We must recognise and stand for election democracy is stronger when being stacked with “pale, male,
that these groups have an as councillors or MPs fully representative. and stale” candidates. Models
interest in the full range of local before passing the buck. for opening up selection
and national issues. Representation will not We must develop better processes include BME
As a six-year old girl, little did increase until we make active evidence-based experiences shortlists and open primaries.
I know that the first black MPs movements. of minority groups. We must
were elected in 1987.Twenty- In the past our voice has been take action to meaningfully The wider challenge is grass
three years later representation ignored, allowing a large part of include them in all aspects roots change, starting with
still falls short of reflecting the society to become disillusioned of work and life. Finally we participation and leadership
total BME population. Positive and rebellious to authority. must facilitate access to in political parties. We could
action needs to be taken to information and education raise the profile of our BME
ensure that we are not in the It is now a necessity that our without discriminatory barriers candidates, showing our
same position in 2033. voice is heard, and acted upon. embedded in our democracy. commitment to inclusion. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 27


nick lowles Nick Lowles

hope not hate

Nick Lowles is the editor of the anti-fascist Searchlight

Magazine. He has campaigned against the far right for all
his working life. Most recently he successfully headed the
Hope not Hate campaign, which mobilised hundreds of
campaigners to the British National Party’s primary target
of Barking and Dagenham during the 2010 UK general
election. The campaign was a resounding success, and
has been widely credited with helping to ensure that the
BNP lost all 12 of the council seats it formerly held in the
area. BNP leader Nick Griffin was also beaten into third
place in his bid to become the local MP.

How and why did the Hope not Hate campaign

come about?
do doesn’t attract, excite or enthuse people. So with Hope
Hope not Hate was set up in 2005 to respond to the not Hate we have rallied people around a very simple
increase in members of the British National Party (BNP). moral cause, and that is what has been successful in the
We had previously linked up with (social development 2010 general elections.
trust) the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on some
research into the BNP vote, which found that women In Barking and Dagenham alone we estimate that there
were much less likely to vote for them than men. This has were more than 1,000 people out campaigning for us,
helped shape our campaign over the last few years. We who we found via our online campaigns over three
found that many women did not like the aggressiveness weeks. This is a level of involvement that political parties
and macho-ism of the BNP, or the trouble this brings to cannot create. We have found that this year, as compared
communities. At the same time, however, these same to last, we have a bigger percentage of people completely
female voters were put off by traditional forms of anti- new to politics helping our campaign. There was a feel-
racism and anti-facism campaigns, which were also good factor. For one of our activities we had 540 people
quite macho though from a very different perspective, out posting 92,000 leaflets in one day. Just to see that
such as ‘Smash the BNP!’ and the like. So we began to number of people creates a mood of euphoria. Obviously
dilute the aggressiveness of our message. We also found once we heard the results it was fantastic, people could
that people wanted something positive to support, rather feel that they had really made a difference.
than just being ‘anti’ something, and that is where Hope
not Hate came from.
What are your main aims?
Hope not Hate is a fantastic vehicle that enables us to
rally people around, allowing us to obviously differentiate Our short-term goal was to curb the rise of the BNP,
ourselves from the BNP and hate. Our methods are hopefully pushing them back in the areas in which they
always developing and we are always learning new were getting elected, which we have accomplished in
things, some of which work, while others don’t. We have some areas. At the moment we are the fire brigade, if you
tried to tap into a mood, particularly over the last couple like, running around trying to put out the BNP fire. My
of years, connected to the growing disillusionment own view is that they do well in communities that have
with mainstream parties, not only in terms of voters in lost hope. These communities turn in on themselves and
communities where the BNP are strong, but also in terms political parties don’t listen to them.
of civic society. Some have interpreted this apathy as an
indication that people are not interested in politics, but
instead we think that what mainstream political parties This leads to the longer-term goal, which is what we

28 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

are looking at now. We are training people up in their What elements contributed to the success of
local communities so they can self organise around your campaign?
local issues, along the lines of traditional community
organising. Hopefully they can also achieve local goals,
which will prove to people that they don’t need to go It helped that the Labour Party worked hard. Their party
down the BNP route. Not everyone who votes for the message can also be quite negative, however; banging
BNP is a hardcore racist. Obviously race is the issue on about immigration doesn’t enthuse people. The higher
that the BNP mobilise people around, using this as an voter turnout typical of a general election also helped.
easy explanation for why their supporters haven’t got
something themselves. At the end of the day, though, it We turned the local election into a referendum on: ‘Do
is normally that people are disillusioned and the BNP are you want the BNP running your council?’. We upped the
giving them simple solutions. stakes and made it a really clear choice for people.

We cannot change things around overnight, and there

are public policy issues to be addressed, but this
community organising is part of our long-term goal to
A sign that our
make people feel more positively about their own areas.
campaign was effective
How did you set about affecting real change? is that the BNP put out a
We used a combination of new media and old organising;
it was this fusion that worked for us, each with a
leaflet attacking us
different role. For example, the online organising made
very little difference in terms of the vote in Barking and
Dagenham, but what it did do was enable us to speak to The campaigning we did around different groups, such as
our supporters on a regular basis to tell people about the women voters or black and Asian voters, also helped to
issues. This meant that people could get involved even if produce a higher turnout for these different groups - the
they couldn’t physically take part. In the first five months overall turnout was massive. We employed someone just
of this year our online campaign raised £86,000 from just to do faith work, for example, and on the final Sunday of
under 5,000 people. The average donation was around the campaign, we addressed 2,500 people in one church
£16.50, which was fantastic. congregation. They were all chanting ‘hope not hate’ and
had our material.
We did some canvassing, but we didn’t set out to turn
BNP voters around. This would have been very difficult to
do, and it would not have been fair to put our supporters What, apart from the local election results in
in these potentially difficult situations, as this could have Barking and Dagenham, would you say were
caused conflict. your biggest successes?

Instead, we identified groups less likely to vote for the One of the signs that our campaign was effective is that
BNP and we worked on those, going door to door with the final leaflet the BNP put out in their campaign in
targeted leaflets. Women were one key group, as well as the borough was a two-page attack on us. This proved
the black and Asian communities, first-time voters and that we had shifted them in a certain direction and we
pensioners. certainly saw that as a victory.

At the moment the BNP vote comes primarily from men In an election campaign people don’t shift that much.
between the ages of 30 and 55 living in areas where there They don’t go from being racist one minute to not racist
is lower educational achievement. High unemployment the next. But we did get some emails and letters from
in an area is a factor, but usually the BNP voter is in local women in response to the 12-page booklet we put
social groups C2 or D, so not actually the poorest people out to female voters with a covering letter from a local
in society. The BNP vote tends to come more from those person. There were replies from ordinary local women
who work hard and play by the rules, but who feel that saying that they were thinking of voting BNP, but had
other people don’t. Crucially, all six surveys on the BNP changed their minds as a result of learning what we had
vote I’ve seen show that men vote BNP more than women to tell them.
at a ratio of 2:1, so the more women we get to the polling
booths, the better from our point of view. I think the key day for me was on 17 April when we had summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 29

a big day of action with 540 people. There were people Our fear is that the climate is in a worse state than it was
queuing down 85 stairs and down the road just to get their in 2001 with the last riots, because we are post-9/11 and
papers, with 30 to 40 people outside. No one complained. communities are more divided. The EDL can organise
We put on food and there was entertainment, it was just 1,500 people in the North East of England just through
the most amazing day, people just kept coming and the internet. This is a major issue, which I don’t think any
virtually all were brand new people to us. It really was of the political parties are dealing with. We have got to
unbelievable to see the numbers of people of all different use this as an opportunity to bring communities together.
ages. On election day, we even had three teenagers in We have to embed ourselves wherever the problems are
London on a school daytrip from Kent who had bunked and make links with community figures.
off to come and help us!

We have 250 people willing to become local organisers The BNP is now looking
in their areas and who can help us set up Hope not Hate
groups up and down the country. We are now trying to
build on these networks.
at how we organised
What are your concerns about the far right
ourselves, and so their
for the future? work will become more
I have a worry that people will think that the BNP have
been defeated. Over the next few years, the cuts that are
coming will really hurt some of the BNP profile voters,
such as the semi-skilled, the public sector workers and What difference would greater representation
those in the building trade. of black and minority ethnic (BME) people in
parliament make?
I also worry about electoral reform because the reality
is that the BNP have a much better chance of getting
elected under proportional representation, as we have If the quality (of the BME representative in public life) is
seen in the European Union elections. They have two high, and the person is seen to deliver, this can make a
MEPs, which has enabled them to employ 40 of their positive difference. It is a great way to peel away some of
members full time, who will no doubt do party work the BNP voters, or others around them.
rather than European work.
I think having more BME representatives in politics is
I think there’s a danger in complacency. I take the view good in the sense that it helps to break down myths
that for any place in which the BNP got more than 15 per and stereotypes, helping to show that we are all in this
cent of the vote in the local elections this year, you can together. However, there is a group (of white people)
add another 10 per cent next year when there is no general in our society whose members feel that they have lost
election. There are places, even in big diverse cities like their identity and, where possible, these people must be
Manchester and Leeds, where the BNP got 30 per cent of taken along on the journey too.
the vote this year. Also, the BNP realised that they were
out-organised in Barking and Dagenham, which means
that they are looking at how we campaigned and how
What role does the media play in perpetuating
major political parties do it. Their work will become more negative opinions of certain groups?
sophisticated as a result.
Authorities need to be far more vigilant about what
comes out of certain papers. Some of the stuff the
How will the operating under the Liberal- Daily Star and the Daily Express print is far worse than
Conservative coalition affect your work? you would see in a BNP pamphlet. While the BNP are
conscious that they must stay within the law, elements
It is not yet clear what the government’s position will be on of the press are more free with what they say. It would be
community cohesion. One of the things we are focusing important to have more people of different backgrounds
on a lot more now is the English Defence League (EDL) writing, to help do away with outrageous things that get
issue. Government cannot just keep sitting on its hands, written about certain ethnic groups. But the law should
pretending nothing is happening. Unfortunately the last come down on those in the press that perpetuate these
government took a very narrow public order position, views, because it is not surprising that people vote BNP
using the police to control protest, but protecting the far or are distrustful of some ethnic groups when they are
right under freedom of speech laws. fed a daily diet of hatred.

30 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

A reader on race
John Solomos explains why he and co-editor Les Back saw the need for a
second edition to their widely read text, and where it goes further than the first
of disciplines and sub-fields. Yet even racialised identities and politics. Perhaps the
in the short period since the first edition most important additions we have made can
was published we have seen important be found in part five on ‘feminism, difference
developments in both how scholars study and identity’ and in part six on ‘changing
race and racism and in wider public and boundaries and spaces’. In part six, the work
policy debates about this question. These of Kimberley Springer and Sarita Srivastava
transformations have centred on a wide range has been added to give voice to current
of issues and events, including new patterns preoccupations in black feminist discourses
of migration, the rise of extreme right-wing and in debates about race and racism within
racist and ethno-nationalist movements, feminist movements.
debates about cultural and religious diversity
and multiculturalism and, more broadly,
What’s new?
the emergence of new forms of racist and Not surprisingly it is in the forward-looking,
racial discourses. Wider geopolitical events concluding part that some of the major
such as 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’ have additions to the reader can be found, with new
also played a role in shaping debates about extracts from the work of David Roediger,
race and racism. More generally, scholars Jennifer Hochschild, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
from a range of disciplines and empirical and Howard Winant. The new extracts address
perspectives have raised important questions issues such as whiteness, emerging ethnic and
about what it is that we study when we racial identities and future trends in racialised

research race and racism. politics and mobilisations. All of these are
he study of race and racism has
been transformed in a radical
fashion over the past three decades.
From a relatively minor sub-field
of sociology and other disciplines, we now
The new extracts address
have a proliferation of courses at all levels
of university study, a massive expansion of whiteness, emerging racial
identities and future trends
scholarly publications and of research.
In this rapidly evolving environment
it becomes easy to lose sight of what is
established theory and what is new, of what
key issues we should be exploring and what
research and policy agendas we should be
Second edition areas on which there is intense debate and
research activity in the current environment.
addressing. The proliferation of theoretical
It is in this context that we decided there was A good case in point is the extract from
paradigms and perspectives over the past
a need to produce a second edition of Theories David Roediger’s work on whiteness, which
three decades has accentuated this problem
of Race and Racism, which was published in provides an indication of the impact of
even further. It is partly in response to this
2009. The second edition includes revised research on whiteness in the past decade.
challenge that Les Back and myself set out
editorial overviews from Les Back and It is perhaps inevitable that even extensive
in the late 1990s to produce the first edition
myself that situate the shifting boundaries of volumes such as this reader do not cover all
of Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader,
scholarship on race and racism contemporary the themes and issues that are being debated
seeing it as an overview of a field of research
theoretical trends. We have kept the original in the contemporary environment. But the
that was very much work in progress. It is with
structure of organising the readings in six 42 extracts included, alongside the extensive
this objective in mind that we intentionally set
broad thematic parts, and have added new introductory material, provide a basis for
out to include in the reader both classic texts
readings within those confines. In part one, students to explore the key issues in race and
by foundational scholars as well as examples
on ‘origins and transformations’, we have racism studies from a range of conceptual
of the work of new scholars.
added new readings by Robert Bernasconi, perspectives. Certainly my own experience
Albert Memmi and Pierre-André Taguieff in using the reader as a teaching resource
The first edition that provide somewhat different perspectives for a wide range of students has highlighted
on the history of ideas about race. In part two, the need for texts that cover both historical
The first edition was published in 2000 and on ‘sociology, race and social theory’, we and contemporary issues, and challenge
became a widely used course text on both have included the work of Runnymede trustee students to look at a range of perspectives and
sides of the Atlantic, and in a wide range Claire Alexander on the construction of theoretical frames. summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 31


Shaping our own identities

embodying identities provides AN and racial histories and traditions that people
overview of how academic interpretations of can be ‘free and equal’ individuals in their
identity have changed over time, describing own right. This resonates with the school
the varying ways in which identity has of thought that ethnic or racial identities are
been understood. The idea of identity is a artificial categories that hold people back and
politically charged one and debates around should somehow be made to disappear. He
multiculturalism in particular have been highlights Sir Macpherson’s initial desire to
criticised as factional and divisive. What some avoid explicitly mentioning race in his report
see as ‘identity politics’ has been in danger of into institutional police racism as an intriguing
putting people into rigid boxes and pitting them example of the liberal desire to wish away the
against one another. Author Victor J Seidler, realities of ethnic and racial identities.
whose on background is British Jewish, One of the given ways in which we resist
discusses how race, ethnicity and migration collective identities and help ourselves to
histories impact on people’s identities. belong to a wider culture is through the act
The prevailing postmodern understanding of forgetting. Seidler explains that people
of identity emphasises that individuals may choose to separate themselves from the
have control over how to actively construct ethnicity or culture (in this case Jewish) of
and shape their identity. Seidler helpfully their migrant grandparents:
contrasts this with feudal societies, in which “They perhaps do not want to be reminded
Embodying Identities: people’s identities are fixed within a rigid that their grandparents were immigrants who
Culture, differences and social theory social hierarchy. The shifts to capitalism and had suffered from discrimination and anti-
Protestantism in Europe started to unlock Semitism as they worked long hours in the
by Victor J Seidler, The Policy Press 2010
people from their societal positions and sweatshops of Whitechapel and Stepney in
Book review by Phil Mawhinney enabled them to compete for individual east London. Second and third generations
success, using individual abilities and talents. often want to forget the harsh realities of
In this way people were able to separate immigrant working-class life, as they make
themselves from collective identities. This is their transitions from the run-down city to
the most salient point in terms of ethnicity the suburbs, to pass on nostalgic memories
and race – that people can resist collective and of a past that has been severed from the lived
inherited identities, such as racial categories, experiences of their children.”
cultural traditions and migration histories. This is an evocative example of how people
Every day we hear something about how who have migrated from abroad often want
we live in a globalised world and this has to conceal their memories of loss, pain and
profound implications for how people choose shame in order to help their children belong.
to identify themselves. Embodying Identities Race is important in that it is easier to disavow
devotes a lot of space to how the mass ‘Jewishness’ and so pass within wider society
migrations of the last fifty years in particular than for a black Caribbean or Bangladeshi
have disrupted simple ideas that equate person who cannot conceal their colour.
identity with nationality. Seidler discusses the Embodying Identities emphasises that
idea that many second generation migrants in identity is neither inherent and fixed nor
Britain feel and choose different loyalties or completely constructed through the categories
associations than their parents of race, ethnicity or religion (or gender or
He says: “They might feel as if they can be sexuality). Instead, through a process of
‘British Muslims’ in a way they do not feel, as ‘identity work’, we choose to resist and
their parents might, like ‘British Pakistanis’, select from our inherited culture, nationality
instead feeling that their home is in London, and history. It could be argued that Seidler
Birmingham, Leeds or Leicester for example.” overstates how people “no longer inherit
While this is well-covered ground, what identities from their parents” and that such
makes the book more valuable is the way in postmodern ways of understanding identity do
which it explores identity and ethnicity in not reflect the reality of people’s lives. Indeed,
terms of will and resistance. Seidler expands the book can sometimes be slightly vague, but
this idea, pointing out that history and culture it nevertheless helps us to think about identity
are often seen as ‘unfreedoms’. It is only less in terms of categories and more in terms
through separating and disowning ethnic of real life and history.

32 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362


How to reject unjust norms

Injustice: why social is the unquestioned acceptance of capitalist
logic that Dorling attacks. With his simple
inequality persists and direct style, Dorling is able to expose
by Daniel Dorling, The Policy Press 2010 the anomaly of ideas that have come to
Book review by Kjartan Páll Sveinsson be accepted as natural and inevitable. He
dissects with great clarity the different
ways in which inequality is justified and
for decades those of us engaged maintained, boiling down to five principles
in an intellectual fight for social justice of injustice: ‘elitism is efficient’; ‘exclusion
have been losing out. In political and public is necessary’; ‘prejudice is natural’; ‘greed
discourse, models of neo-liberal ideology is good’; and ‘despair is inevitable’. These
have been a dominating force in deciding five faces of social inequality, Dorling
what is important in the contemporary world, maintains, have become accepted as an
and what constitutes a good society. Recently, inevitable part of capitalist democracy. By
however, a number of influential books have uncovering the vain and reprobate nature of
appeared that pose serious challenges to this mantra, Dorling assumes the role of the
the hegemony of capitalist logic. The latest boy who said ‘the emperor is naked’.
is Daniel Dorling’s Injustice: Why Social Dorling provides those fighting for equality the future. He reminds us that the current era
Inequality Persists. with both a grand narrative with which to of growing inequalities “is something that
Dorling manages to convey a different argue that inequality is an unnecessary social cannot go on forever, so it won’t.”. It will
way of seeing the world - an angle from evil, and interesting facts and examples to require a concerted effort from all of us to
which to scrutinise our values and evaluate back it up. The book provides a powerful resist the rhetoric of inequality and injustice:
the society we live in. The main strength of argument for why, during these extraordinary “Everything it takes to defeat injustice lies
the book is that it refuses to engage with economic times, we must not put equality on in the mind.” Injustice provides us with a
neoliberalism on its own terms. Indeed, it the backburner. Dorling is optimistic about blueprint for a different way of thinking.

Death by tikka masala

It’s A Wonderful Afterlife clinging to hopelessly dated traditions when
Directed by Gurinder Chadha it comes to girls and marriage. The ‘curry
killer’ mother’s desperation for her daughter
Film review by Farrah Sheikh to find a Punjabi mate apparently driven by
her imminent death - she hopes to die in peace
and meet her late husband in heaven. The
naan bread, kebabs and curry - ridiculous plot thickens as we learn that Mrs
not commonplace murder weapons. But it is Sethi’s victims cannot achieve reincarnation
her culinary talent that Mrs Sethi, played by until their murderer is dead, leading to their
Bollywood leading lady Shabana Azmi, relies decision to help Mrs Sethi in her quest to find
on to exact revenge on all those refusing an her daughter a mate.
alliance with her slightly plump daughter. Even with this comic plot device, however,
A movie that expresses none of Gurinder humour is noticeably lacking. Despite its
Chadha’s earlier Bend it like Beckham claim to be a dark comedy, the film’s jokes
brilliance fails at every step to raise a laugh. are few and far between when not related to
Set in the Indian community in Southall, Indian food. And with her dark, shadowed
we see the typical stereotypes for an Asian eyes and constant tears, it is difficult to see
marriage play out predictably. An Indian how Mrs Sethi was ever going to be a comical
mother frets about her daughter finding character. As for the others, we don’t get close
a suitable groom before she dies and the enough to any to really warm to them. a shame the movie doesn’t address any of
daughter suffers rejection for being too fat, Stereotypical to its core, Chadha says the issues bubbling beneath the surface of
too dark or too ugly. Fashioned as a spoof, nothing new or interesting about Asian the story. Why can’t Mrs Sethi’s daughter
the filmmakers clearly wanted to laugh at communities in this film. While clearly not - young, sweet-natured and successful - be
themselves - the British Asian community still its intention, you can’t help feeling that it’s anything if not a wife? summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 33


Stereotypes and suicide bombers

TO BORROW THE SUCCINCT SYNOPSIS showed an intelligent understanding of
sold to me by my husband, Four Lions is ‘a Muslim culture, so I was not surprised to
comedy about four stupid suicide bombers later read that writers Jesse Armstrong and
from the writers of Brass Eye’. Sam Bain had spent years researching before
On first impressions, I was not at all happy writing the script.
with the few female characters there were in The film does play to stereotypes, in the
the film. Sofia (Preya Kalidas), the wife of form of main character Omar’s pious brother-
main character Omar, was frustratingly one- in-law. Though I did feel that this character’s
dimensional. For a film that has some great presence served a purpose in representing
writing and touches of realism to it, telling a part of Muslim communities that many
Omar (Riz Ahmed): ‘You were much more Muslims cannot engage with.
fun when you were going to blow yourself up’ Balanced against the new insight into
without emotion was not funny or plausible. Muslim variety, I am conflicted as to how
The violence in the film shocked me – I this film may potentially help or hinder
found myself gasping and had both my hands public perception of Muslims. Showing
over my mouth at one point. But I wasn’t these non-stereotypical characters behaving
given time to reflect on this, as the comedy as extremists could represent a danger of
kept coming and I found myself laughing, criminalising the whole community – because
albeit guiltily. it’s not just the ‘weirdy beardy’ types that
On reflection perhaps that was the point pose a risk. Four Lions
that was being made. Real violence and death The film really brought home the danger Directed by Christopher Morris, 2010

The film gave certain insights Film review by Elvira Doghem-Rashid

into Muslim experiences, though

not enough of them female
are portrayed so frequently and glibly within of home-grown terrorists, making this issue
our society that their consequences are not felt more real for me, rather than dispelling my
by those not experiencing it for themselves. concerns. I actually felt quite nervous leaving
This came across very well in the film, the cinema, worrying about the serious reality
with the characters referencing video game behind the humourous depiction
violence and ‘play fighting’ together. I felt For me the film offered something, but
that the characters would most likely not have not enough. It gave certain insights into
got into their situation if they had a true idea different Muslim experiences, though not
of the consequences. It was evident by the end enough of them female. The main character
of the film that, at some point on their path knew something about Islam, but not enough
to destruction, disaster for the main characters to realise there is no justification for what
could have been averted. he had planned. There was some hint at the
While the film is very thought-provoking motivations of the wannabe suicide bombers,
in terms of terrorism, I felt the main strength but by no means enough. I wanted to know
was its portrayal of Muslims. It presented more about what set the characters on their
facets of Muslim life that never normally get a fateful paths, to inform what we, as a society,
mainstream airing. I must admit I was uneasy are really up against.
about seeing a film portraying Muslims For its failings, though, I would still
written by a non-Muslim, particularly given strongly recommend that everyone watches
the topic. In fact, as a Muslim, I was fully Four Lions. I am still thinking about the
expecting to be offended. But instead I was film some weeks later. Love it or hate it, it
roaring with laughter throughout most of the is certainly thought-provoking, and is brave
film, as was everyone else in the cinema. enough to broach a particularly controversial
Aside from presenting a non-stereotypical topic. Maybe it does not deliver quite enough,
image of Muslims, I feel that the film really but maybe something is better than nothing.

34 | RUNNYMEDE BULLETIN | SUMMER 2010 / issue 362

Runnymede director Rob Berkeley
considers the impact of cuts on the
pursuit of race equality

Spending cuts, but at what cost?

M We must see that our political

y mind is buzzing with ideas
and fresh perspectives on the
challenges of racial injustice,
having recently returned from leaders are subject to appropriate
the excellent CRONEM/Runnymede
conference, Living Together.
levels of scrutiny, so that all voices
The research, theoretical discussions,
and policy debates at the event were of a are heard
very high standard. We really appreciated
insistence that public spending must be cut, dictate rather than from the collective will
the luxury of taking time away from our
and cut now. The coalition hypothesises of the citizens.
desks to reflect and learn from academic
that the impact of the proposed cuts will be
researchers working at the leading-edge. A
mitigated by the citizen and civil society The back-to-front nature of the reforms
series of conference papers will be shared
taking greater responsibility and action - (finance rather than purpose) poses some
as podcasts on the Runnymede website over
the much-vaunted ‘Big Society’. Not many dangers for racial justice and other values
the coming months. One stand-out moment
people are against civil society and citizens that we would hold central to success as
was the presentation given by American
playing a greater role, but there are still a society. It may well be cheaper to stop
public intellectual, Benjamin Barber. He
many questions about what shape these monitoring the actions of our police services
challenged the delegates to reframe the
new responsibilities will take (running to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly.
issues of racial justice and race relations
schools and colleges or co-payment for It may be more financially efficient to
in terms of the re-democratisation of our
certain health services?) and importantly, remove the rights of parents to appeal an
societies. For those seeking to ensure that
who will pay for them. Meanwhile there is exclusion from school. It may be expedient
race equality remains at the forefront of the
greater certainty about the scale and shape in the short term to abandon positive action
political agenda during this period of rapid
of future spending cuts. The financial initiatives to increase diversity in certain
political and public service reform, there
‘logic’ puts the Big Society at risk of being parts of industry. But in saving some money
may be some wisdom in the renewed focus.
merely a reaction to the cuts rather than now, what problems do we create in the
a reframing of the relationship between medium term? Greater disenfranchisement,
The coalition government has announced
citizen and state that may have been the exclusion, loss of creativity, social strife -
its plans to seek democratic reforms, but
government’s intention; the tail wagging when considered in this light, is the cost of
cuts too high to bear?

What shape will our new civic Yet none of these outcomes are inevitable
if, following Barber, we can ensure that all
in our society are democratically engaged.
responsibilites take in this Big We must see that our political leaders are
subject to appropriate levels of scrutiny,
Society and, importantly, who will so that all voices are heard in decision-
making about cuts in public spending and

pay for them?

the marginalised, in particular, are enabled
to engage with and shape public services.
Big Society requires Big Democracy.
the dog. If we are not careful, the drive for
these constitutional innovations have reforming the role of the state will derive * For more on public service reform, equality
been overshadowed by the government’s purely from what the financial markets and cohesion visit summer 2010 / issue 362 | runnymede BULLETIN | 35

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